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  • LACK OF FUNDING IN THE CHINESE HEALTHCARE SECTOR: WHAT FOREIGN INVESTMENTS CAN DO?

    Despite China’s economic growth has been impressive during the last years, only now the environmental and health impacts are beginning to be registered.

    Public health problems have important implications for political stability. In fact, the political factor in China is particularly problematic because the Chinese government is the primary provider and payer of healthcare, unlike in other countries such as the US and the UK. Since political legitimacy in China is performance-based, poor health indirectly hurts the regime’s standing by jeopardizing the country’s economic growth. As a result, healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP declined as China’s economy was growing. 

    China has recently acknowledged that it has a problem which only foreign expertise and capital can fix. Consequently, it is reforming its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Catalogue, and associated sector-specific regulations, to accommodate more foreign involvement.The government is giving investors much greater access to the healthcare sector towards foreign direct investment (FDI).

    It is important to underline that the majority of the people are covered by state health insurance schemes, but coverage is usually limited and a large portion of medical fees are often paid out of pocket. Foreign investments could be a positive tool to improve the situation.

    Chinese hospitals also suffer a lack of funding and there is a large gap in quality between urban and rural care, often leading to high rates of bribery that has made it harder for China's poor to get access to healthcare.

    In short, China should put more attention on the healthcare costs carried by the government. The reimbursement scheme between public hospitals, doctors and the national insurance plan need to be fixed.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    (Source: Healthintelasia.com)

  • INVESTING IN THE INDIAN SENIOR HEALTHCARE SECTOR

    Consideration before the upcoming Retirement Living World India 2014 conference

    Health care markets in China and India have expanded rapidly during the last years. According to Forbes, there are several reasons to believe that India could represent a better market for senior care services and development than China.

    India has the second largest geriatric population in the world.According to a United Nations Population Fund report, the number of people age 60 and over in India will increase from 100 million in 2011 to 300 million by 2050; this means one in five Indians will be above the age of 60. Of the 300 million over-60s, 200 million are likely to be suffering from chronic ailments.

    The Indian economy has positioned itself as a service-based economy, in contrast to China’s, which has done a superb job in more tangible manufactured sectors. Stakeholders should put more attention on the Indian market, considering the fact that life expectancy is significantly increasing in the country.

    Home healthcare is also becoming a mandatory.Patients who are suffering from chronic illness like heart failure, respiratory failure and Alzheimer’s do not really need hospitalization. With advanced medical gadgets, most of the patient monitoring, which was earlier possible only in hospitals, can now be offered with remarkable ease at home.

    International operators and investors should think about where to deploy capital given the number of competing regions that all have similar demographic needs. Many senior care operators can take a look at a market such as China and India quickly understand that international expansion as essential to future growth in developing countries.

    The next step could be to take the senior care and home healthcare work done in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia into India. The participation at the upcoming Retirement Living World India 2014 conference in December can be a way to better understand which strategy has to be taken in order to invest in the Indian healthcare sector.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    (Source: Healthintelasia.com)

  • FORIGN INVESTORS IN THE CHINESE PHARMACY RETAILERS

    In the past, China’s hospitals depended on the sales of drugs for income, especially to pay doctors. Many of them have also been found writing prescriptions for unnecessary drugs in order to take money from pharmaceutical companies.

    According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, qualified drugstores should replace hospital pharmacies (where prices are higher) and doctors should make prescriptions for medicines thinking of the needs of their patients.

    The Chinese government tried to low the price of medicines, separating drug sales and hospitals and incorporating drugstores into the country’s medical insurance system, which allows patients to get reimbursed for spending on healthcare and medicines.

    Because of the wide disparities among China’s regions and the country’s rural-urban income gap, purchasing power and retail demand vary greatly. Nowadays, the Chinese pharmacy retail market needs consolidation. Despite the expanded market access, foreign-invested drug retailers are still rare in China, in part because of the current healthcare system, under which 85 per cent of drugs are sold directly through hospitals. As part of China’s healthcare reforms, the government announced that it will gradually separate drug sales from healthcare institutions, allowing greater market share and more freedom in drug price setting for retailers.

    The government also recently released several documents that lay out the future of the drug retailing sector. These documents provide several market opportunities for foreign investors, including foreign participation in mergers and acquisitions and drug procurement. They also encourage chain stores that use modern logistics for urban and rural drug retail businesses. The aim is to strengthen the distribution network in rural areas, which will create more favourable infrastructure conditions for chain stores.

     

    The gLAWcal team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, November 7, 2014

    (Source: Forbes)

  • FOREIGN INVESTMENT: PRIVATE PLAYERS AND EASIER ACCESS TO MEDICAL SERVICES FOR CHINESE PATIENTS

    According to a recent pilot announcement, China is going to establish seven wholly foreign owned hospitals in three cities (Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai) and four provinces (Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan).Opening the services sector to foreign investment is part of the national strategy to create more jobs and upgrade the export- and investment-reliant economy.

    Moreover, inviting more private players into the sector would also ease bottlenecks in medical resources, which are causing rising conflict between doctors and patients. Even though private health care is still a relatively small proportion of health care services in China, as the government remains a main provider, privatization is a good opportunity for foreign and private players, while the reform would allow some people to more easily access medical services.

    The first liberalization of physician rights to practice outside of public hospital settings was tested in 1989. According to the Health Statistics Yearbook and 2008 Ministry of Commerce “China Service Economy Development Report”, at the end of 2011 there were less than 100 foreign invested hospitals in China.

    Beijing first lifted the restrictions on foreign investment in private hospitals in 2012 as part of plans to raise the proportion of privately funded hospital beds from just 8% to 20% by 2015.Many foreign investors have been waiting for more flexible and transparent rules to take shape, and the latest announcement by the State Council seems to answer their requests. Foreign ownership caps for providers have been raised to 70%, while investors can now establish 100% foreign-owned private hospitals in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

    The regulations governing foreign health care investment are still developing, but seem like they are shifting the focus and responsibility of the health care development even more sub-national levels. This means that it is going to be more important than ever to think locally when working with Chinese investment. For special administrative regions in central and western China, in particular, being aware of local conditions, goals and investment hurdles will be critical to success.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, November 10, 2014

    (Source: Healthintelasia.com)

  • CHINA: PUBLIC HOSPITALS TO HALT THEIR EXPANSION. CAN PRIVATE INVESTMENTS BE THE ANSWER?

    Health authorities have recently ordered China’s public hospitals to stop their expansion, blaming this growth for rising bills. According to the NationalHealth and Family Planning Commission, public hospitals want to increase the number of beds and purchase high-tech medical equipment, when they should pay more attention on their internal management issues.

    On the other hand, public hospitals see the expansion as a way to survive in the marketplace because trough more beds and sophisticated medical devices they could attract more patients, which means more incomes.

    Hospital chiefs would only agree to the authority's order if there were supporting policies to help grass-roots hospitals become more competitive.The point is that what motivates new hospitals getting built and existing hospitals being expanded is not a specific public health matter, but a political advancement.

    Big hospitals can bring in more revenue, a fundamental factor owing to the fact that China’s public hospitals are under-funded. If China’s hospitals continue to receive orders of magnitude more than additional funding and government reimbursement, they will keep looking for ways to generate new revenue.  This means that the lack of funds will remain unresolved for as long as the foundational reimbursement system remains broken.

    Improving the private investments could fix these management problems. In fact, The Chinese government has just announced the launch of a pilot scheme allowing for the establishment of wholly foreign-owned hospitals (“WFOHs”) through greenfield investment or mergers and acquisitions in three centrally governed municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai), which have provincial status, and four provinces (Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan).

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, November 14, 2014

    (Source: Healthintelasia.com)

  • ARE TPP COUNTRIES IN RUSH?

    TPP countries are considering starting the “legal scrub” before concluding negotiations to speed ratification by signatories.

    Different sources noted that concluding legal reviews of chapter makes sense if the US congress where to pass the complete agreement by the end of 2015, the scheduled deadline for the concluding the agreement. In cases of past agreements for instance US – Korea it took three months for parties to finalize text after concluding negotiations.

    Chile’s foreign ministry website has already identifies that seven of the TPP chapters, namely cooperation and capacity building; regulatory coherence; small- and medium-sized enterprises; competitiveness and business facilitation; telecommunications; and temporary entry of business persons are already closed.

    However such attempts to winnow winnowing down the amount of time could be hampered by several procedural requirements under the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, not to mention the TPA bill is still pending in the Congress. Further the US President is required 90 days before entering into agreement for International Trade Commission to carry out an economic impact analysis.

    Congress approval for all US FTA in the past decade has been based on ITC impact assessment studies. Last year, former ITC Chairman Irving Williamson said due to number of countries involved an economic analysis of a completed TPP deal will take at least five months.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 18 December 2014

    (Source: Inside US Trade)

  • INDIA WINS AT THE WTO

    The Appellate Body (AB) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled that the higher duties of about 300 per cent imposed by US on steel imports from India asinconsistent with the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.

    The US argued that Indian government was subsidising some of the domestic companies and had imposed countervailing duty (CVD) on imports of hot-rolled carbon steel flat products.

    India filed complaint with the WTO in 2012, the Panel report that came out in July this year had ruled in favour of India against which the US decided to approach the AB. The AB while rejecting some of findings of the Panel report which were in India’s favour uphold the Panel findings on inconsistency of higher duties on steel exports from India.

    The AB recommended the US to bring its norm in line with its commitments in the WTO Agreement.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 11 December 2014

    (Source: Hindu Business Line)

  • INDIA-ISRAEL TO COOPERATE IN RENEWABLE ENERGY SECTOR

    In the side-lines of the stalled FTA talks, India-Israel is on course to conclude a broader agreement on cooperation in the renewable energy sector. This agreement follows an earlier work on the renewable energy sector between the two countries. The bilateral talks on FTA are likely to be on track early next year.

    Daniel Carmon, Israeli ambassador to India on side-lines of an interactive session to boost bilateral trade, said the trade between two countries has topped $6 billion and is poised to get bigger, he emphasised that the figure is excluding defence business, which is a big area of cooperation.

    The Ambassador sees agriculture and horticulture crop productivity, irrigation and water supply management and homeland security as areas of mutual interest.

    In a separate meeting with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh the Ambassador was assured of government support to facilitate process.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 10 December 2014

    (Source: Hindu)

  • SWITZERLAND EXPECTS TO SIGN FTA WITH INDIA SOON

    Switzerland's Ambassador to India Linus von Castelmur said the trade between the two countries are on growth path. Since 2004 the Swiss-India bilateral trade nearly tripled from $1.6 billion to $4.5 billion in 2011. 

    The process of negotiations was delayed due to elections in India earlier this year. The Ambassador was of the Opinion that “A lot of progress has been made since formation of new government under leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India and we are hopeful of signing the agreement soon”.

    While the political focus has remained confined to the issue of black moneystashed by Indians in Swiss banks, the Ambassador highlighted historical ties and a hefty presence of more than 200 Swiss companies in India with overall investment inflows into India at above $7 billiontill June 2014 to further trade relations. The strength of these companies in R&Dhas also invoked large interest from India.

    Switzerland will be seeking additional market accessfor it imports including pharmaceuticals, machinery, transport equipment, chemical products and watches. It has also emphasised on strong Intellectual Property provisions, which could be a potential stumbling block. On the other hand, India is an important market for Swiss Tourism, and it will seek to ease Visa requirements for professionals. India’s major exports include textiles, pearls, jewellery, metal product and agricultural products.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 9 December 2014

    (Source: Business Standard)

  • CLIMATE CHANGE: A SEVERE THREAT EVEN FOR WEALTHY COUNTRIES AS THE UK

    The UK government has recently revealed that the country is dangerously exposed to increasingly extreme weather caused by climate change.

    According to Professor Lord Krebs, who chairs an expert group of the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC), thousands of lives could be lost due to severe heat waves. Additionally, the lack of spending on flood defences would lead to unnecessary flood damage unless action was taken, experts said.

    In this context, experts argue that the governments need to cooperate; establishing stricter measures to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, stressing that global warming could have severe implications even for wealthy countries as the UK.

    Some experts have welcomed some steps of recent years, showing that 1.4 million homes were protected, and no one died, in last winter's floods. However, experts highlight that the UK is still exposed in key areas.

    The National Audit Office and the CCC's Adaptation Sub-Committee have outlined the importance to invest more on flood prevention. Experts outline that the current approach in England is to the so called 'build and protect', a mechanism used to foster development reducing risks for the future.

    Data show that In 2003, the warmest spell of weather in Europe for 500 years led to an estimated 2,000 deaths in the UK and tens of thousands across Europe. In relation to that, the government needs to establish concrete measures as the creation of homes and buildings that can be kept cool in the summer as well as warm in winter.

    Furthermore, the current rate of greenhouse-gas emissions could see temperatures rise by three to five degrees by 2100. This situation could have profound and severe implications, experts say.

    In this framework, governments need to undertake measures to adapt to climate change and reduce disaster risks: this represents an essential step, experts suggest.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Saturday, 29 November 2014

    (Source: The Independent)

  • ARCTIC: MINING INDUSTRY AND STRONGER ENVIRONMENTAL SAFEGUARDS

    The mining industry's new-found responsibility and imposition of stronger environmental safeguards could represent an example to other industries in the Arctic, experts say.

    Some experts have argued that economic interests could play an increasingly important role in shaping development in the Arctic. However, prominent members of the mining industry stressed that economic interests should play a pivotal role in driving responsible industrial activity in the region.

    Many countries are undertaking longer term economic commitments. For instance, China has just established to purchase oil and gas from the Russian Arctic over the next decades, while at the same time having secured stakes in Russian oil platforms in the region.

    Experts show that the Arctic is rich in oil, gas, and metals such as nickel, copper, gold, uranium, or tungsten. It even has large diamond reserves. Rapidly shrinking sea ice exposes new shipping routes through the Arctic Ocean that will save time and money for companies moving goods from Asia to Europe, while also providing new opportunities for tourism and fishing.

    Experts indicate that mining companies could have a big opportunity in this region. For example, Alaska’s Red Dog mine represents one of the world’s biggest producers of zinc and lead, whereas Greenland’s Ilimaussaq complex is estimated to meet a quarter of global demand for rare earth elements, critical components in a wide range of electronic devices, over the next 50 years. Additionally, many countries, including China and the UK, are lining up to invest in future projects.

    On the other hand, mining companies remain cautious about the Arctic, partly because of the threats posed by environmental accidents. For example, data reveal that around 170 miners are killed each year in the South American gold industry. Additionally, expensive mining projects built in a hurry have hit the industry’s reputation.

    In this framework, climate change plays a central role. Global warming coupled with the global decline of ore quality, has already undermine the situation for extractive industries. These companies have to operate in increasingly remote environments where mining companies face competition with local inhabitants for water and energy, experts said.

    Moreover, the main mining companies are part of the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM), founded in 2001 with the objective to tackle sustainable development challenges. Major mining companies have established to undertake a set of principles created to maintain sustainable development standards. Experts stressed that this arrangement represents a unique instrument for large-scale industries.

    In this framework, as the Arctic opens up for business, mining has reached an important step towards a leadership position in private-sector environmental stewardship, experts show.

    In relation to that, industry experts  argued that the mining industry's new-found responsibility and imposition of tighter environmental safeguards could serve as an example to other industries eyeing up development of the Arctic, taking into account the well-being of the region’s people and the broader natural environment.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Wednesday, 26 November 2014

    (Source: ChinaDialogue)

  • CHINA TO ENCOURAGE THE RATIONAL USE OF LAND AND STRONGER ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

    Four government bodies are testing a new combined planning regime in 28 locations, in order to improve policy co-ordination.

    According to hydrologist Dr Chen Wen of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, the trials will see multiple plans combined within clearly-defined urban areas, in order to eliminate incompatibilities between individual plans. This new program has the objective to tackle a deep-seated problem of poor co-ordination and wasteful growth, experts show.

    The new mechanism includes the National Reform and Development Commission’s plans for economic and social development, the Ministry of Land Resources’ planning for land use, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development’s urban-rural plans, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s planning for protection of the environment.

    These measures will foster positive development of land use and environmental protection in the west of China, the deputy director of Tongji University’s Urban Planning and Design Institute said.

    Experts stress that the existing poor co-ordination need to be improved.

    The director of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning has argued that changes are essential for environmental reasons. In the past policies and programs were established without taking into account environmental capacity. The current situation requires considering these factors in order to adapt the plans to these needs.

    However, some experts have shown some disadvantages of this system, stressing that this plan represents a mechanism for coordination, without the obligation to enforce it.

    Experts outline that China's eastern coastal provinces have already recorded a period of over-expansion. In relation to that, the country needs to undertake a concrete plan for optimization. Additionally, western China remains less developed suffering from weak management; in this way, the west of China is a passive recipient of this new mechanism.

    On the other hand, some experts have highlighted that there is still much disagreement over who will provide the framework into which the other plans will be merged. Also, currently the MEP’s environmental protection plans are the weakest, experts say.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Wednesday, 26 November 2014

    (Source: ChinaDialogue)

  • CLIMATE CHANGE: SOUTH ASIAN COUNTRIES TO ACHIEVE A LEGALLY BINDING AGREEMENT BY 2015

    South Asian countries have stressed the importance for global leaders to establish a legally binding agreement by 2015, showing that South Asia has been seriously affected by the severe impacts of climate change.

    This request was made at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit held in Kathmandu. 

    These countries have underlined that climate change represents a serious threat for the region. In this context, climate change represents one of the most urgent issues of the current political agenda. In this way, the international community needs to achieve a new legal instrument, or an agreed outcome with legal force applicable to all by the end of 2015.

    The regional group is formed by eight member countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. China is keen to become a member, but has been rejected by India. The country has currently the status of observer along with Myanmar.

    South Asian countries, who belong to the developing and least developed countries groups under the UN negotiations, have called for a global agreement just a week before the United Nations climate summit begins in the Peruvian capital of Lima. This summit will be a crucial event in order to determine the nature of the global agreement decided next year in Paris.

    Some experts have argued that the explicit mention of the UN negotiations in the SAARC declaration represents a significant signal. In relation to that, these countries will not be willing to change their view as intense debate between developed and developing country increases ahead of the meeting in Peru. Experts of South Asian countries argue that the new agreement should be based on the principles of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities and equity under the UNFCCC.

    The countries have also decided to reinforce cooperation on disaster prevention and climate change by establishing a disaster and environment centre by unifying existing regional centres in Maldives, Bangladesh, Bhutan and India.

    According to Nepal’s prime minister, the countries are trying to cooperate, working effectively on environment and disasters in South Asia in order to achieve concrete results.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Tuesday, 28 November 2014

    (Source: ChinaDialogue)

  • CLIMATE AGREEMENT IN PARIS 2015: TRULY GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITMENT?

    Governments have stressed their commitments to sign a new agreement in Paris next year, pledging climate action beyond 2020. This plan represents the first major signal of the world’s willingness to fight climate change. This deal represents an important step especially after the summit in Copenhagen five years ago, where hopes of a comprehensive treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions were dashed, experts say.

    Moreover, this commitment represents a crucial step in relation to the recent report realized by the UN science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC has recently announced that rising annual greenhouse gas emissions were impacting the climate, posing severe risks. In this way, countries need to undertake stricter targets because greenhouse gas emissions must fall in the 2020s in order to avoid the worst effects.

    Additionally, other experts, as the International Energy Agency and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, have warned that the timing is critical. Governments need to make important choices that will determine consequences in the long term.

    Experts stress that climate negotiations are complex because they cover a wide range of issues, affecting daily life in almost every country of the world.

    In this context, mitigation and adaptation represent the central elements of the international agenda. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, limiting climate change, and undertaking stronger measures for climate change are the key objectives of governments, expert say.

    In this way, both mitigation and adaptation are playing a key role. Mitigation is about changing how the world generates its energy, shifting away from unabated fossil fuels. Additionally, adaptation is about making agriculture and infrastructure including cities, ports, power plants and roads more resilient to weather extremes and rising sea levels.

    Environmental expertssuggest that a climate agreement must achieve trust, ensuring clear benefits for everyone. In this context, developed and developing countries need to cooperate in order to achieve concrete results. In addition to that, rich countries should boost measures to held poorer countries in order to cut emissions and prepare for the impacts of a changing climate.

    Experts highlight that governments have significantly committed to pledge climate action under a Paris Agreement. This situation represents a crucial step ahead, as a major advance from past agreements. In relation to this, a Paris agreement could represent that first truly global commitment to tackle climate change, experts suggest.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Friday, 28 November 2014

    (Source: ChinaDialogue)

  • PERU IS THE MOST ACCURATELY CARBON-MAPPED COUNTRY

    Recent data show that Peru stores nearly seven billion metric tons of carbon stocks, mostly in its Amazon rainforest. According to a new research by the Carnegie Institute for Science (CIS), that’s more than US annual carbon emissions for 2013 which were calculated at 5.38 billion tons.

    Peru, home to the second-largest area of Amazon rainforest after Brazil, will be the host for December’s UN climate change summit.

    The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has revealed that the country is to date the most accurately carbon-mapped country in history, thanks to high-resolution mapping which provides a hectare-by-hectare look at its carbon reserves.

    Experts outline that the research by CIS’s allows Peru to know precisely how much carbon it is storing in its rainforest and where that carbon is being kept out of the atmosphere: in this way, the country can negotiate a fair price for its reserves on the global carbon market, experts say.

    The study has revealed that nearly a billion metric tons of above-ground carbon stocks in Peru are at imminent risk of emission into the atmosphere due to land uses such as fossil fuel oil exploration, cattle ranching, oil palm plantations and gold mining.

    According to researchers, there may be up to 30 million hectares of potential new protected forest areas that may be able to store close to three billion metric tons of carbon. Experts stress that this fact represents a good signal, adding that the majority of already protected carbon stocks exist only in 10 parks and reserves, and just four of these are fully enforced.

    Transitioning partially protected preserves to fully protected ones could represent a good instrument in order to help to counterbalance a great deal of the carbon, expected to be lost due to land use in the near future, experts suggest.

    The research team created a map of carbon density throughout the 128 million hectare (320 million acre) country at a resolution of one hectare (2.5 acres), using advanced three-dimensional forest mapping data integrated with satellite imaging data.

    Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s environment minister, whose ministry supported the Carnegie Institution in creating the map, has argued that this new map provides the evidence needed to start negotiating in the carbon market on a bigger scale.

    Moreover, Peru’s environment minister has stressed that the government is studying carbon stocks in the soil, doing a forest inventory. Additionally, the government has established an important forest investment program. These initiatives will better prepare the country to face changes in land use, the minister said.

    Data show that Peru’s Amazon covers more than 60% of the country, measuring 69 million hectares.

    However, deforestation, agriculture and land-use change account for 61% of Peru’s carbon emissions, studies reveal.

    In this context, experts indicate that tropical forests convert more carbon from the atmosphere into biomass than any other terrestrial ecosystem on Earth. On the other hand, recent reports reveal that tropical deforestation and forest degradation account for about 10% of the world’s carbon emissions annually.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Monday, 24 November 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • DEFORESTATION HAS SUPRISINGLY DECREASED IN THE AMAZON RAIN FOREST, EXPERTS SHOW

    According to environment minister of Brazil, deforestation in the Amazon rain forest dropped 18% over the past 12 months, falling to the second-lowest level in a quarter century.

    Experts have shown that 4,848 square kilometres (1,870 square miles) of rain forest were destroyed between August 2013 and July 2014: that’s a bit larger than the US state of Rhode Island.

    Data decreased from 5,891 square kilometres (2,275 square miles) razed during the same period a year earlier, due to the adoption of a controversial bill revising the Forest Code. The measure passed in 2012 after more than a decade-long effort by Brazil’s powerful agricultural lobby. This bill reduced restrictions for landowners with smaller properties, allowing them to clear land closer to riverbanks.

    Many environmental groups had been stressing for a long time the urgency of the situation, warning of a second consecutive spike in the annual deforestation numbers, as the forest continues to be razed to create areas for cattle grazing, soy plantations and logging. In this context, the announcement of the minister came as a surprise.

    According to Marco Lentini, who coordinates the Amazon program for the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Brazil branch, the announcement represents a good signal. However, this doesn’t mean that deforestation issue is over, Lentini added.

    Brazil needs to establish stronger measures to achieve concrete results, experts say. Lentini argues that the country is still very far from the objective of having minimum deforestation, referring to Brazil’s pledge to reduce deforestation to 3,900 square kilometres (1,506 square miles) per year by 2020.

    In 1988, Brazil started to use satellites to monitor the forest. The country’s lowest recorded deforestation figure since 1988 came in 2012, when 4,571 square kilometres (1,765 square miles) were clear-cut, experts show.

    The Amazon is considered one of the world’s most important natural defences against global warming due to its capacity to absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide. In addition to that, the Amazon is home to around one-third of the planet’s biodiversity. Environmental experts outline that rain forest clearing is responsible for about 75% of Brazil’s emissions, as vegetation is burned and felled trees rot.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Wednesday, 26 November

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • WOMEN ARE PLAYING A CRUCIAL ROLE ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE

    Where leaders have reached just little progress in fighting climate change, global warming may seem a merely theoretical problem, too far in the future.

    On the other hand, in remote tropical forest nations and islands, local leaders are working to undertake concrete and effective solutions to address climate change in their communities. Experts show that women are playing a key role in this path with the aim to face global warming. Local leaders do not consider environmental issues as a matter of politics, but as a matter of survival.

    Recent reports have revealed that from the rainforests of Guatemala to the islands of Papua New Guinea, rural communities are losing their homes and livelihoods: their regions face extreme weather and new cycles of drought and flooding that threaten their survival.

    In this context, women are key actors, experts outline. For women on the frontline of these changing landscapes, the devastating effects of climate change are not merely abstract elements. They can see a future marked by disease, malnutrition and loss of income.

    Experts stress that the women are taking action to safeguard the environment with concrete instruments that include stopping deforestation in Indonesia to promoting clean energy in Nigeria. Despite the severe impact of climate change, local communities drive their projects forward because their lives depend on them. Local leaders have already reached important and significant results with their climate projects, experts say. However, they receive little attention from funders and climate finance programs.

    Experts describe that in West Timor, Indonesia, for example, carbon-sequestering forests are burned and plundered for mining and palm oil plantation. In this framework, one courageous indigenous woman risked her life to shut down destructive mining projects.

    To make another significant example, “Mama” Aleta Baun, a mother of three, staging sit-ins at four local mines, has helped to save the homes and ancestral forests of 130 indigenous families, becoming a figurehead for other indigenous Mollo women.

    Describing situation like these, experts highlight the importance of the actions of women such as those in West Timor. These actions are bolder, cheaper and more effective than those of large-scale international initiatives, experts have strongly suggested.

    Solutions to climate change already exist, but not only in the halls of buildings that host international climate meetings, but also on the frontline of the battle to save the environmental safety of our planet, where local leaders are working to overcome the challenges posed by climate change. For local communities, climate change represents an urgent issue. In this context, experts stress that the international funders must invest in the people who have the most to lose, and who are acting now to address environmental issues.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Friday, 28 November 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • CLIMATE CHANGE: TO UNDERTAKE LEGALLY BINDING MITIGATION TARGETS

    According to the European Union, an international agreement on global warming must have legally binding targets. This is the position that Europe supports at a UN climate summit in Peru.

    The conference has the aim to deliver the first draft of an accord to cut carbon emissions and avoid dangerous climate change that is expected to be signed at a UN conference in Paris next year.

    Any concrete agreement on emissions cuts need to be mandatory, a senior EU official in Brussels said.

    The EU is working to establish legally binding mitigation targets, officials said. In addition to that, European experts have outlined that the current agreement prototype includes options within options, and has a broad range of views of what constitutes legal force. In this way, governments need to achieve concrete results in Lima, as time is short, experts suggested.

    In relation to this, French president François Hollande has highlighted the importance to undertake stricter measures to overcome environmental issues. According to Hollande, the international community needs to cooperate; a climate agreement will be a significant mark, Hollande said.

    New Zealand has launched a proposal that would contain some legally binding elements but allow countries to determine the scale and pace of their emissions reductions. However, some experts have argued that this proposal calls into question the aim of keeping temperature rises below 2°C, the level that countries have agreed to limit warming to.

    In this context, the US special envoy on climate change, Todd Stern has stressed that during negotiations, a hybrid approach to legal enforcement offered the best chance of reaching a deal agreeable to all.

    Moreover, the special envoy on climate change has highlighted the US commitment on climate change related issues, showing that the US government at a climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009 offered a 42% CO2 reduction by 2030, higher than the 30% cut by 2025 announced by president Obama in China this month. Additionally, the special envoy has confirmed that an 83% decrease by 2050 remained Washington’s key objective.

    The European Union plays a crucial role in driving environmental policies, experts outlined. In this way, the EU has marked an important step, setting out a legally binding 40% drop in emissions by 2030, but measures this against carbon output in 1990, rather than the US’s preferred 2005 baseline, experts indicated.

    In this framework, experts have recognized that achieving and accepting a binding deal could represent an obstacle in the next US elections. However, showing that reaching a low carbon transition is possible could persuade Republicans to accept climate targets, officials suggested.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 27 November 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • CHINA’ S TRANSITION TO AN ENERGY SUPERPOWER

    The rapid growth in Chinese energy demand has had a great impact on world oil markets and prices.

    But more recently, experts show that the Chinese enormous drive to increase natural gas use has determined important regional and global impacts on gas and LNG markets.

    In this way, due to the increasing demand for energy security, China is growing as a regional and global power, experts reveal.

    In this context, Chinese policies influence not only the country’s domestic trajectory, but regional and global outlooks for energy supply availability, environmental security, and geopolitics. This situation stresses the character of the current interconnected and global framework for energy and environmental security.

    These elements are boosting the importance of China’s strategic and economic relationships especially with major producer countries.

    Data indicate that almost all of China’s incremental oil consumption will need to be imported. Experts argue that this growth will lead China to increase its presence abroad. This situation will further accelerate the country’s role as a regional and global power, intensifying its diplomatic issues and challenges, experts add.

    Chinese growing dependence on maritime oil supplies will be an additional “multiplier” encouraging Chinese leaders’ interests in territorial claims in the South and East China Seas. This fact will also increase attention to issues related to the control of Asia’s vital energy sea lanes, experts stress.

    These issues are already highly contentious: this situation will increase debates and questions for policymakers across the Asia-Pacific.

    China is trying to raise its domestic gas consumption, but this strategy will mean depending on imports for roughly one-half of its gas needs. Experts outline that this policy is driving China to expand its energy reach across Central Asia and Russia through large pipeline deals linking China to these suppliers for the long term.

    In this context, experts suggest that gas represents a crucial element that is driving and reinforcing China’s growing regional power and influence.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Friday, 21 November 2014

    (Source: NBR)

  • THE DYNAMICS OF CHINESE ENERGY SECTOR

    Experts argue that China is facing various severe energy challenges, especially relating to energy supply security and environmental cost. Additionally, the government faces other challenges related to investment efficiency and social equity.

    In relation to this, the Chinese government has launched significant policy initiatives with the objective to change the country’s energy portfolio.

    These policies include efforts to foster and advance the reduction of energy intensity and carbon emissions, the radical reduction of air pollution, the reform of state-owned enterprises (SOE), and the reform of the pricing systems for energy products.

    These policy initiatives involve different sets of strategies in order to achieve the goals. These differences show the various programs that are implemented, suggesting the possible consequences based on observations of past efforts.

    In this context, China’s Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution establishes ambitious objectives for the industrial sector.

    Addressing air pollution represents a crucial priority for China, experts say.

    According the experts, this plan will need to be supported by concrete measures, including strategies for the power sector, for identified industries, and for key regions.

    In addition to that, the government need to implement longer-term structural and policy shifts inside the country.

    However, experts show that while the Chinese ambition to introduce carbon trading represents a good signal, the government still faces a number of serious obstacles to achieve effective implementation.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Tuesday, 20 November 2014

    (Source: NBR)

  • EFFORTS TO REINFORCE THE ENVIRONMENTAL RULE OF LAW

    The United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Organization of American States have recently renewed joint-efforts in order to reinforce the environmental rule of law.

    According to experts, this agreement represents an important breakthrough. It is a fundamental instrument to continue the Organization's work in member States with strategic partners such as judges, parliamentarians and civil society organizations in order to advance the environmental rule of law.

    Moreover, the UN South-South Cooperation Expo on enhancing cooperation for sustainable development represented a crucial step for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UNEP and the Organization of American States (OAS). This Memorandum is a key element designed to foster cooperation between the two organizations on the development and implementation of environmental rule of law for the promotion of sustainable development.

    The UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner has stressed the importance of consolidating the existing partnership with UNEP. The complementary nature of the work of both organizations in the attainment of shared goals is essential for achieving sustainable development in the context of the proposed post-2015 development agenda, Steiner said.

    The Global Symposium on Environmental Rule of Law, held in Nairobi, has brought together Chief Justices, Heads of Jurisdiction, Attorneys General, Auditors General, Chief Prosecutors, lawyers and legal experts from around the world to increase awareness of the role of environmental law as an indispensable instrument in achieving sustainable development and a green economy.

    Data reveal that only 4 out of 90 of the world's most important environmental objectives have registered significant progress. Additionally, experts suggest that violations of environmental laws often fail to give the adequate response from governments and the law enforcement agencies.

    In this context, experts highlight that this deal could represent a concrete measure to advance the environmental rule of law.

    Furthermore, experts argue that the Inter-American Democratic Charter clearly establishes that reinforcing legal frameworks for environmental protection and multilateral environmental agreements is a central tool in order to contribute to democratic governance.

    In this framework, parties have strengthened their commitments, increasing their efforts in many areas. This program includes the development and implementation of an Inter-American Judicial capacity building program on environmental rule of law and the establishment of an Inter-American Congress on environmental rule of law, the reinforcement of parliamentarian capacity and facilitation of international exchange of best practices on legislation and supervision on environmental rule of law in order to achieve sustainable development.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Friday, 21 November 2014

    (Source: UNEP)

  • THE ROOT CAUSES OF CHINESE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

    China’s current environmental situation represents a direct result of the country’s rapid industrialization, which happened on a scale without precedent.

    Chinese environmental problems have a threefold root cause, caused by separate but interrelated issues. These elements are China’s lack of funding for its environmental regulatory agency, significant reliance on conventional coal-fired power, and single-minded emphasis on economic growth, experts explain.

    In this way, experts stress that one of the root causes of China’s environmental challenges is that the country’s environmental regulatory agency (the Ministry of Environmental Protection) is underfunded. For these reasons, the Ministry does not have the adequate funding to monitor, report, and penalize environmental polluters.

    The severe environmental damages caused by Chinese rapid industrialization both in China and across the Asia-Pacific have found officials unprepared, leaving the country without adequate systems, experts suggest.

    Moreover, data show that China’s pollution has been linked to new smog problems in neighbouring countries as Japan. In addition to this, U.S. coastal cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle have argued that their air quality was strongly affected by smog that crosses the Pacific Ocean.

    In this context, experts show that another root cause of Chinese environmental matters is the country’s reliance over the last 30 years on conventional coal-fired power. According to a recent study, more than half of China’s air pollution can be attributed to coal use alone.

    In order to overcome these issues, China is moving away from its highest-polluting sources of energy, using cleaner supplies and promoting the use of fossil fuels.

    For these reasons, some experts have argued that China is driving the world in developing alternative energy and in developing cleaner versionsof existing technologies: its actions can be seen as “an area of achievement that is objectively good for the world as a whole”.

    In relation to that, Chinese environmental policy represents a positive signal of the government’s ability to respond to environmental and energy problems in a constructive way.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Tuesday, 20 November 2014

    (Source: NBR)

  • ENVIRONMENT: THE KEY ELEMENT OF CHINESE AGENDA

    In recent years, environmental problems have become key issues of the Chinese political agenda. Environmental issues, seen as politically sensitive subjects, have raised debates, social unrest and protests. The main problems affected China include air, water and food supply related issues. In order to address these problems, the Chinese government has increasingly invested in strategic renewable energy and clean-technology sectors.

    In this framework, environmental safety plays a crucial role. Environmental considerations represent central drivers of Chinese commitments on higher-technology manufacturing and service-sector opportunities.

    Despite these positive signals, experts have stressed concerns about Chinese ability to adapt its current environmental regulatory system to the current situation.

    At the same time, to strengthen its efforts in order to achieve concrete results, China has fostered investments in its healthcare system.

    Experts show that China’s healthcare reforms represent a critical measure of how the government believes it can balance the need to address the damages that its economic growth model has caused to people’s health, with the political risks related to its environmental efforts.

    China’s environmental concernshave reached a critical inflection point: these issues are increasingly driving national policies with key implications for public health, energy outlooks, and efforts to address climate change.

    Pollutionrepresents one of the most urgent environmental issues that China needs to address.

    Academic studies have alarmingly revealed that people living in the north of the Huai River, where Chinese air pollution is most severe, should expect to live on average five years less than their counterparts who lived south of the same river.

    In this context, Beijing’s smog has become a symbol of these kinds of problems around the country.  Additionally, a study has shown that 70% of Chinese water is too polluted for drinking.

    Experts have argued that quantifying Chinese environmental damage represents one of the most challenging issues, especially due to the political sensitivities among Chinese policymakers. In this way, experts highlight that internal political resistance over publicizing actual data represents one of the main obstacles: data were held back because publication could create a political liability for Chinese central government, experts say.

    In this framework, experts have stressed that understanding the scale of China’s problems is fundamental in order to reinforce decision-making in both the public and private sectors. For instance, with reliable data on pollution China could understand and achieve theresources required to overcome associated health challenges.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Wednesday, 19 November 2014

    (Source: NBR)

  • INDIA STRESSES ITS DOUBTS ABOUT THE US-CHINA DEAL

    The United States and China has recently established a significant deal to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This deal represents as an historic milestone in the global fight against climate change, experts say.

    However, India has strongly criticized this agreement.

    According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a research and advocacy NGO based in Delhi, the agreement represents a “self-serving and business-as-usual” deal. Researchers have complained that the plan was neither historic nor ambitious. In addition to  this, the NGO has stressed that the US and China had set targets that would cause a catastrophic 4C rise in global temperature, much higher than the 2C target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    On one hand, Prakash Javadekar, the minister for environment, forests and climate change, has expressed some concerns about the deal.

    On the other hand, the minister has welcomed it as a significant beginning in order to achieve concrete results addressing climate change.

    In this context, the EU has recently agreed a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The US, however, has agreed to 26 to 28% reduction below 2005 levels by 2025. According to the CSE, that’s only 15-17% below 1990 levels, less than half of European commitment. In this way, the US needs to cut at least 50-60% below 1990 levels in order to meet the IPCC-set target, experts suggest.

    In this framework, the UK’s parliamentary under-secretary of state for energy and climate change, Baroness Verma has highlighted the importance for India to reinforce its commitments, playing a bigger role on climate change issues.

    The US-China deal doesn’t force India to take action; however, this agreement will induce the government to reassess its choices and policies.

    For these reasons, the bilateral agreement between China and the US represents an important signal that the country needs to shift towards stronger commitments on climate change.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Wednesday, 19 November 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • EBOLA: AID AGENCIES ARE TRYING TO CHANGE THEIR INSTRUMENTS AND METHODS TO OVERCOME THE CRISIS

    Ebola represents one of the most urgent challenges that the international communities need to face with immediate and concrete actions.

    According to experts, adapting has become second nature for people that try to respond to this unprecedented situation.

    Due to a delayed influx of international aid, operating manuals are being updated by organisations in order to stem an outbreak.

    Data show that victims have reached the number of 5,000 this month across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  In order to contain the consequences of this crisis, experts are trying to test and upgrade every instrument, from equipment to medical trials to psychology handbooks.

    This severe crisis has forced the WFP; that is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, to reassess its choices and methods. In this way, engineers are building four Ebola treatment centres that will be opened this month across Guinea. The blueprints are designed by MSF, the medical organisation leading treatment efforts, which has shared the models with other organisations.

    Data indicate that 150 trees were cut down in Sierra Leone’s Kailahun district to make a 50-bed Ebola treatment centre, at the time MSF’s biggest ever. However, these efforts have been dwarfed by the expanding crisis. In relation to this, the organisation now manages a 250-bed unit in Liberia. Additionally, almost a dozen more centres are due to open in Guinea before the year ends.

    Experts outline that the scale of the epidemic has forced rapid innovation and concrete changes. For instance, a team is developing field tents that will prevent overheating in the exhausting tropical heat, and gumboots that dry fast as they are also regularly sprayed down with chlorine. In addition to this, experts will change incinerators, used to burn any potentially infectious material at treatment centres, with new models: experts outline that each time a health worker goes into the isolation tents and comes out; their protective suit has to be burnt.

    Furthermore, aid workers stress that organizations and governments have the important role to teach local staff how to overcome this crisis with the best instruments.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Wednesday, 19 November 2014

    (Source: The Guardian) 

  • JAPAN: THE WHALING'S PRACTICE

    Japan has recently launched a plan to kill 333 minke whales in the Southern Ocean next year. This announcement represents a part of its program to resume whaling, following a legal setback instigated by Australia.

    The plan establishes a 12-year program that would cause the slaughter of a total of 3,996 whales. In this way, the whales will be hunted in the Antarctic waters, including ocean claimed by Australia.

    Anti-whaling activists have tried for many times to impede this practice.

    Japan was compelled to suspend its annual whale hunt due to the ruling at the international court of justice in March. The case, brought by Australia and supported by New Zealand, has argued that the Japanese program was not scientific but was simply a facade for commercial whaling.

    However, the Japanese government has decide to launch a new whaling program in the Southern Ocean at the end of 2015, despite anon-binding vote at the International Whaling Commission meeting in September. In this contest, the Commission has solicited stricter limits upon Japan’s whaling activities.

    In relation to that, Greg Hunt, Australian environment minister, has reaffirmed the strong opposition of Australia to whaling, criticizing the behaviour of Japan.

    In addition to that, Patrick Ramage, the global whale program director for International Fund for Animal Welfare, has stressed that this plan should be opposed at the IWC scientific committee next year.

    In this framework, many experts have argued that the international community needs to intervene: it is time for Japan to end this unscientific killing of whales.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Tuesday, 18 November, 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • THE GREEN CLIMATE FUND COULD HELP POORER COUNTRIES TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE

    Britain and other rich countries are expected to formally pledge $10bn (£6bn) in climate. According to observers, this commitment represents a backward step on earlier climate finance transfers.

    Countries are expected to offer around $10bn to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at a meeting in Berlin.

    In this way, the UK will become one of the world’s largest contributors with an expected pledge of about $1bn.

    However, the budget of $10bn is lesser of the $10-15bn target set by the UN last year that countries would have to reach before the UN climate summit in Lima, Peru.

    In relation to that, an official observer on the GCF board, representing civil society from developing countries, has expressed his uncertainty about the announcement.

    Data reveal that the contributions include $3bn from the US and $1.5bn from Japan. The budget will be spread over four years and could be a third lower a year than was pledged for developing countries at the UN climate summit in Cancun in 2010.

    The observer on the GCF has highlighted that the pledge is inadequate, given the scale of the challenge. In this way, $10bn over four years for the GCF is actually a backsliding of efforts, experts add.

    The GCF represents a new UN institution with the aim to start distributing money next year. This institution will channel money from developed to developing countries in order to help them to adapt their cities and farming to extreme weather conditions suchas as severe floods, heatwaves and sea level rises caused by climate change. Additionally, developing countries will be helped tocut their emissions.

    Experts show that the GCF is expected to be the world’s premier international climate fund, with the objective of making at least $100bn available a year by 2020. According to experts, this figure represents the minimum amount of money that over 150 developing countries will need, in order to face and to avoid the alarming effects of climate change.

    However, this fund has already raised some concerns and doubts. For instance, developing countries are concerned about the methods of control of this fund. Additionally, these countries stress that rich countries could try to increase their investments to reduce emissions rather than help poorer countries to adapt to climate change.

    Although many G20 countries such as the UK, Saudi Arabia and Italy have yet to pledge their money, observers stress the importance that developing countries, including Mexico ($10m), South Korea ($100m) and Indonesia ($200,000) have offered money to this fund.

    In this way, some experts argue that this situation represents a positive step ahead in order to achieve a global climate deal at a climate summit in Paris in 2015.

    According to Athena Ballesteros, finance centre director of the World Resources Institute, these financial commitments are a strong signal that many countries are willing to reinforce their efforts to reduce emissions, helping vulnerable communities to address the consequences of climate change.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 18 November 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • TRIPARTITE FTA ROUTE TO AFRICAN REGIONAL INTEGRATION

    The Tripartite Sectoral Committee of Ministers announced that the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) covering three Regional Economic Communities – the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) will be launched in mid-December at the Tripartite Summit of Heads of State and Government in Cairo, Egypt.

    Talks on the project among the 26 countries ranging from Egypt to South Africa were launched in 2008 and endorsed in 2011. The TFTA will have a combined population of 625 million people, and an aggregate GDP of US$1 trillion covering 58 percent of the continent’s economic activity. The immediate objective is to reduce the thickness of borders across the continent so as to raise inter-regional trade across the continent, now standing at just 12 percent to total trade. An action plan released by the African Union says that the TFTA would be followed by a continental customs union forming in 2019.

    According to the WTO, in 2010, the 58 African countries were involved in 55 Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) of which 43 were South-South PTAs. PTAs (RECs or Regional Economic Communities is the usual acronym used when discussing regional integration in Africa) are good politics. Broad evidence suggests that economics and politics are complements rather than substitutes (as argued by defenders of multilateralism): RTAs reduce the probability of war through two channels: by increasing the opportunity cost of war; and by reducing information asymmetries as partners know each other better. But to survive, PTAs must extend beyond unfilled good intentions and have a sufficiently sound economic basis, the focus of this note.

    So far success on the economic front has been modest, not least because of the great diversity in memberships across PTAs. Members include resource-rich and resource-poor, coastal and landlocked (15 landlocked countries in Africa), large and small, artificial borders, and many ethnic groups and languages. Figure 1 shows that the EAC is the REC with the smallest disparities in per capita exports of rent-generating natural resources. It also happens to be the REC—along with UEMOA—where integration has been ‘deep’, a five-member customs union operational since 2009.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    5 December 2014

    (Source: International Trade Centre)

  • CHINA'S MANUFACTURING GROWTH SLOWS AGAIN IN NOVEMBER

    China's factory activity slowed by more than expected in November, highlighting how a cooling economy is impacting its vast manufacturing sector.

    The official purchasing managers' index (PMI) dipped to 50.3 in November from October's 50.8, closer to the 50 point mark that separates growth from contraction. It was below the 50.6 level expected by economists. Rising costs and falling demand were blamed for the downturn in activity.

    Meanwhile, a private survey from HSBC showed that growth in Chinese factories in November stalled as output shrank for the first time in six months. The final HSBC/Markit manufacturing PMI slipped to a six-month low of 50 in November, down from 50.4 in October. The reading was unchanged from a preliminary "flash" finding released earlier this month.

    Output fell to 49.6, which was the worst reading since May. "Muted growth in new work," led companies to hold back production, HSBC/Markit said. Growth in the world's second largest economy fell to 7.3% in the third quarter, which was the slowest pace since the global financial crisis. The risk that China might miss its official growth target of 7.5% this year for the first time in 15 years is growing because economic data is weaker than expected, economists said.

    A struggling property market, uneven export growth and cooling domestic demand and investment are some of the major factors weighing on overall growth. Alaistair Chan, economist at Moody's Analytics, said he had expected the slowdown in manufacturing and was a "little more pessimistic" than the market for two reasons. "Firstly, there are signs the recent export boom is fading. Meanwhile, the housing market and related sectors such as steel and cement manufacturing, remains in a slump," Mr Chan said.

    China's house prices fell on a monthly basis for the seventh straight month in November, a survey showed on Sunday. The average price of a new home in its 100 major cities was down 0.38% from October, the independent China Index Academy said.

    Earlier this month, the country's central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates to 2.75% for first time since 2012 in an attempt to revive the economy. Mr Chan said Monday's data shows further evidence that fourth quarter growth will be about the same as the third quarter with growth "below China's potential" and the government's target. "Monetary policy may need further action, possibly with a reserve ratio cut or another interest rate cut, by year end," he said.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    4 December 2014

    (Source: BBC)

     

  • CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT JUST ABOUT THE CLIMATE, IT IS ABOUT OUR LIVES

    As representatives from more than 195 governments around the world come together in Lima, Peru, to work on drafting a global treaty on climate change, they should heed the words of Peruvian farmer Marisa Marcavillaca: "Climate change is not just about the climate, it is about our lives."

    Negotiations in Lima are crucial as they will set the stage for success or failures next year in Paris, where governments are due to agree a new international climate deal for the post-2020 world.

    To set the stage for Paris, we need to get the details right in Lima, particularly on how developed countries will deliver promised funding to help developing nations address the climate crisis. Vague promises won't help people adapt to the harmful effects of climate change, nor help countries to pursue cleaner paths to growth and development.

    The central figure is $100 billion, promised by rich countries at the Copenhagen talks in 2009 and haggled over ever since. For people like Marisa who are on the front lines of the climate crisis, this abstract number has made little to no difference in their lives.

    The reality is that climate change is already making people hungry and could set back the fight against hunger by decades. Over 80 percent of the production of staple food in Peru is extremely vulnerable to droughts, including corn, potatoes, rice, barley, beans, peas and wheat. Projections suggest that agricultural productivity in the Andean region could fall between 12 and 50 percent in the next decades as a result of climate change.

    As Marisa, who is a leader in the National Indigenous Women's Organization explains, "Extreme changes in the climate affect how much we earn and what food we put on the table for our children. If we don't have enough money to buy food, we go hungry. Without enough money, we cannot afford to buy our children the supplies they need to attend school."

    Climate change is already causing significant damage to global food production not only in Peru, but around the world. And things are going to get much worse unless we act now.

    By 2050, 50 million more people - equivalent to the population of Spain - will be at risk of going hungry because of climate change. And there could be 25 million more malnourished children under the age of five by then compared to a world without climate change - that's the equivalent of every child under the age of five in the US and Canada combined.

    Farmers like Marisa are doing what they can to prepare and build their resilience. They have organized and learned what plants can help fight diseases in their crops. They have built reservoirs for when it is too dry and crops need water. They have worked with local officials to get support for repairing and adapting irrigation systems of greater efficiency so they can grow more crops with less water. But they can't win the fight against climate change alone.

    Action from governments at the negotiations has been far too slow, but there are clear signs of progress from all across the world. In September, millions of people took part in more than 2,000 events across 162 countries to demand action on climate change. More than 400,000 people marched in the streets of New York City alone. They understand that action on climate means new green jobs, secure food supplies, and a future for all.

    If progress is made on climate finance, poor countries could make spectacular advances in clean development. Ethiopia could lift millions of people out of poverty while avoiding annual carbon emissions to the equivalent of 65 coal-fired plants. Peru could increase its GDP by nearly 1% more than business as usual while halving its emissions at the same time. Indonesia could fulfil its plan to cut emissions by 41% in 15 years.

    The $100 billion climate promise can only be the start. What is needed now is a clear commitment on climate finance, focused on what developing countries actually need. A blueprint for progress on climate finance should:

    ·         Set out exactly how climate finance should be accessed and spent.

    ·         Identify new sources of public and private finance.

    ·         Establish a "fair shares" framework to mobilize the necessary financial flows and direct them to the right places.

    These talks are not the endpoint. They are milestones on a journey that will take decades. But the Lima Summit can - and must - put us on the right track for Paris and beyond. Now is the time for our leaders to step up and lead.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    3 December 2014

    (Source: Huffington Post)

  • AFRICAN PRODUCERS CALL FOR CURBS ON SUBSIDIES AS COTTON PRICES FALL

    The “Cotton-4” countries seeking a level playing field in the sector — Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad and Mali — told WTO members on 28 November that recent price falls were hurting their producers and called for a swift conclusion to the negotiations to slash policies that distort markets.

    They were speaking in a meeting on development assistance in cotton, ahead of a separate session of the WTO agriculture negotiations focusing on cotton to be held that same afternoon.

    The Cotton-4 said they appreciated development assistance they have received from various international donors, including South-South cooperation from Brazil, China and India, and they described the reforms they are undertaking together with their needs for further aid.

    But they also expressed concern about the falling prices, which the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) is forecasting “optimistically” to stay at current low levels, and how to compete effectively in world markets when, according to an ICAC presentation, their yields remain static while those of other countries such as India — now the world’s largest cotton producer — continue to rise.

    Some other countries, such as China, Argentina, India, Nigeria and Brazil, supported their call for countries to avoid subsidizing cotton producers when prices fall, and for a quick conclusion on negotiations that aim to make steep cuts in domestic support, tariffs and export subsidies on cotton.

    This meeting on development was the 22nd in a series of consultations held regularly since 2004, formally called the WTO “Director General’s Consultative Framework Mechanism on Cotton”. The current chairperson is Deputy Director-General David Shark, on behalf of Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.

    Although the official focus is primarily on development assistance, the meeting also receives regular updates on the separate negotiations on cotton, and the agriculture negotiations as a whole, and on world market trends.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    2 December 2014

    (Source: WTO)

  • HOW TO AVOID ANOTHER 1914 IN ASIA IN 2014

    Asia's hitherto stable and peaceful strategic order faces pressure from the extraordinarily rapid shift in the distribution of wealth and power driven by Asia's, and especially China's, economic growth. These pressures have been most evident in the U.S. - China relationship, which inevitably forms the core element of the regional order, but they are also starkly manifest in relations between China and Japan. In each case, notwithstanding their deep economic interdependence, we have seen sharply rising levels of strategic rivalry, and a clearly increasing risk of conflict involving all three powers.

    Even a short and limited conflict between them could have devastating consequences for the global economy, and there is no guarantee that it would be either short or limited. Any conflict would carry real risks of escalation which, once begun, would become harder and harder to control. We have an obligation to recognize and respond to the small but attendant risk that it could lead to a nuclear exchange.

    Notwithstanding the very serious problems elsewhere, in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, rising strategic tensions in Asia between the world's three richest states poses the greatest threat to global peace and prosperity today, and indeed the greatest the world would face since the end of the Cold War.

    Rivalry and conflict in Asia is not inevitable, because effective action is certainly possible to avoid it. But such action must be taken, otherwise the chances of conflict will continue to grow and become, if not inevitable, then certainly very high indeed.

    Effective action to address that risk must not be limited to efforts to address immediate issues of concern such as the management of maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas. Important though these are in themselves, they are only symptoms of deeper stresses in the Asian strategic order. These stresses have to be addressed and resolved directly if the region's peace and stability is to be assured.

    This will require a major transformation of the U.S.-China relationship and the regional order it has supported since America's opening to China in 1972. The existing order is being eclipsed by the profound shift of weight, as China's economy has grown to rival America's as the largest in the world. For Asia to remain at peace, a new and contemporary order has to evolve -- one which accommodates Chinese as well as American power and aspirations.

    To date that remains a remote prospect. On the contrary, China and America today have increasingly divergent views as to their future relationship and roles in Asia. China sees America wishing to preserve the existing order based on U.S. primacy, while it wants a new order based on what it calls a "new model of great power relations." These different perceptions drive their strategic rivalry, and they have to be resolved if their rivalry is to ease as a new and stable order in Asia is established.

    There is no cogent reason to assume that their aspirations are inherently irreconcilable, as each has so much to gain from cooperation, as neither could profit from a protracted strategic contest. But reaching an accommodation will be very difficult, because it would require each country to scale back expectations about its regional role - roles which have deep roots in their national histories and identities. Selling that to domestic audiences would take commitment and real political skill on both sides.

    Notwithstanding the need, it is not apparent that either side's policymakers yet seem persuaded that accommodation is necessary. Both seem to underestimate the resolve of the other and to hope that they can secure all they want because the other will back down to avoid confrontation. This is how Asia today most resembles Europe in 1914.

    Determining how these risks can best be minimized requires addressing two questions. First, what characteristics might we look for in a new Asian order which offer the best prospects of regional peace and stability over the coming decades? Second, how could progress towards such an order best be initiated? These are my suggestions.

    Conceiving A New Order in Asia

    We must start from the conviction that a new and stable order in Asia can be created that accommodates the shift in relative power and preserves the core interest of every regional country. There are many different models for the kind of order that could do this. But any order is much more likely to succeed if it embodies the following features:

    ·         Strong regional leadership roles in Asia for both the United States and for China, in which they share power in a relationship of equal standing.

    ·         An appropriate and secure place for both Japan and India which meets their essential security needs and provides them with a regional leadership role appropriate to their weight and standing.

    ·         Assurance for the security and well-being of the region's many middle and smaller powers.

    ·         An overarching commitment by all regional states to the core norms of international conduct embodied in the U.N. Charter, especially the prohibition on the use or threat of force to settle international disputes.

    First Steps Towards a New Order in Asia

    Clearly all states in the region must contribute to the creation of any new regional order. The essential first steps might best be taken through informal but focused discussions between the U.S. and China about the fundamentals of their future relationship, because closer convergence of their expectations about this is clearly necessary for progress towards a new regional order.

    The most valuable first step towards such discussions would be for both China and the U.S. to communicate to one another, privately and eventually in public, their mutual acknowledgment of the need to reconcile their divergent expectations and their willingness to explore the compromises necessary to do so.

    Even this first step will surely be difficult for leaders and citizens in both countries. But if due weight is given to the future of U.S.-China relations, and the future of Asia and the world, this simple but vital first step must be taken, and taken soon.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    1 December 2014

    (Source: Huffington Post)

  • BEIJING BACKS GLOBAL MULTILATERAL TRADING SYSTEM

    China supports the establishment of a worldwide multilateral trading system and is looking forward to cooperation with all Asia-Pacific economies on multilateral free trade projects, Vice-Premier Wang Yang said on Friday.

    The country will work with the world to push the Bali Package, a World Trade Organization agreement reached late last year, Wang told visiting WTO chief Roberto Azevedo. The agreement is aimed at making it easier for developing countries to compete in global markets.

    A well-functioning global value chain evaluation mechanism will create the foundation for a "high-level" economic free trade zone and benefit all economies, Chinese officials and researchers said.

    Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng called for the Asia-Pacific region to deepen economic integration and to push forward the process of creating the proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific at the upcoming APEC meetings.

    He made the comments at the opening of the APEC Ministerial Meeting, which will pave way for the APEC Leaders' Meeting in coming days.

    Gao said the Asia-Pacific region, as the engine of global economic growth, has achieved remarkable progress. But major challenges remain, given the unstable economic recovery and sluggish demand in international markets.

    "The Doha Round has experienced twists and turns, while trade protectionism still exists," Gao said. "Fragmentation in regional development is on the rise, and gaps between APEC members remain to be bridged."

    He added that there is still room for improvement of communication and connectivity in the areas of industry, human resources, infrastructure and information exchange among the APEC members.

    Global economies started to sign regional free trade deals as the WTO's Doha Round hit a dead end in 2008.

    Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said China is actively participating the establishment of new world economic order to help all APEC members boost trade.

    China is considering a series of new trade policies to fit the nation's position in the global value chain, Shen said.

    China, the world's second-largest economy and manufacturing hub, is still on the lower end of the international value chain, according to Yang Cuihong, professor of economics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

    "As China climbs up the chain, its trade partners will benefit from higher added values created from bilateral trade," Yang said.

    China is actively promoting the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, which can include most economies in the global value chain, including the world's leading powers that export products with high added value and the emerging economies that contribute raw materials and cheap labor.

    "A modern multilateral free trade proposal should give every economy a fair chance to trade equally, not just be a playground for developed economies," said Lin Guijun, an economist and vice-president of the Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics.

    Researchers suggested that emerging markets and exporters of natural resources should work together to reach a free trade deal that can protect the interest of economies at the lower end of the value chain.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 21 November 2014

    (Source: China Daily)

  • OSCE: CENTRAL ASIA PLAYS IMPORTANT ROLE AS A BRIDGE BETWEEN ASIA AND EUROPE

    Central Asia plays an important role as a bridge between Asia and Europe, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said as he concluded a four-day visit to the Central Asian republics of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, from 19 to 22 November 2014.

    Burkhalter discussed the work and activities of the OSCE presences and their importance in contributing to the security of the OSCE region. He also discussed the Ukraine crisis, how it affects the region, and the importance of de-escalation of violence, safety and security for all. The Ukraine crisis had shown the usefulness of the OSCE as a platform for dialogue and as an operational responder, Burkhalter said. He added that it was essential to continue and even intensify OSCE efforts to assist Ukraine in stabilizing the situation, particularly through the valuable work of the Trilateral Contact Group and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. Burkhalter called upon all sides in the Ukraine crisis to refrain from violence and any acts which could provoke unpredictable chain reactions beyond control.

    Burkhalter, who made use of his visit in the region to meet with representatives of civil society, also discussed co-operation between the authorities and the OSCE on a number of common issues such as border management, good governance, sustainable energy, trafficking and freedom of media. In Kyrgyzstan, he welcomed the decision of the President to continue the Community Security Initiative until the end of 2015.

    Foreign terrorist fighters and terrorism were also an important topic of the discussions in the region. “Combating terrorism and the phenomenon of young people travelling abroad to join terrorist organizations will be discussed at the OSCE Ministerial Council, taking place in Basel from 4 to 5 December 2014. International cooperation against terrorism has become ever more important, and the OSCE can provide real added valued in this regard,” Burkhalter said.

    Commitments of the politico-military, economic and environmental and human dimensions were in focus throughout the visit. “There is such potential in the region. There is also a strong case for making more use of the OSCE to strengthen co-operative security in the economic and environmental field. We are open to engage, work on prevention and offer expertise,” said Burkhalter.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Saturday, 22 November 2014

    (Source: OSCE)

  • EU 2015 BUDGET: NEW PROPOSAL MUST BE SUSTAINABLE

    The European Parliament and EU governments have failed to reach an agreement on the EU’s 2015 budget within the 21 day window, requiring the European Commission to bring forward a new proposal.

    The Eurorealist European Conservatives and Reformists Group Budgets spokesman Bernd Kölmel has warned that the ECR will not support a budget that is not balanced and represents ‘business as usual.’ In particular he is warning that the current EU budget is not sustainable as it provides no solution to the on-going gap between commitments the EU has entered into, and the payments available to meet them.

    Mr Kölmel said: “The EU budget continues to face a significant payments gap. We need balanced budgets in the EU, not more of the same ‘business as usual’ approach to budgeting.

    “The payments gap in the budget must be filled by greater budgetary discipline, rather than never-ending increases to the budget. In order to balance the books we will have to make difficult decisions about squeezing spending to ensure we cut fat and not muscle from the EU budget.

    “Looking at the figures in front of us it was clear that the 2015 budget proposal is not sustainable. The new proposals must provide an answer to the EU’s unpaid bills without asking for more from the taxpayer.”

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 19 November 2014

    (Source: ECR Group)

  • EU COMMISSION PROMISES TRANSPARENCY ON LOBBYISTS AND US TRADE TALKS

    The European Commission has announced a new transparency drive, promising that contacts with lobbyists will have to be publicly recorded and that documents relating to a controversial EU-US trade deal be made available to all MEPs.

    "I think we have moved from a time where government had an attitude towards the public of 'trust me' to a situation now where the public says to government 'show me!' And we want to show you", said commission vice-president Frans Timmermans.

    Under the plans, commissioners, members of their cabinets and the heads of the various departments of the commission will all have to make public their meetings with lobbyists and other pressure groups. Additionally, they should only meet with registered lobbyists.

    The practice - to start in December - will not be enforced by an independent watchdog; rather, the onus will be on each individual to be transparent.

    "The president of the European Commission will ensure they comply" with the new transparency rules said Timmermans, who noted that he was sure MEPs, the EU Ombudsman, and the press would be "very attentive".

    Having promised to take the first lobbyist disclosure step, the commission was also keen to throw down the gauntlet to the European Parliament and the EU Council.

    The EU assembly has been reluctant to endorse such a measure in the past, while the council (representing member states), is the least transparent of the EU institutions.

    "I'd really be very pleased if all members of the European Parliament would do the same so that we can see who they are talking to because they play a very important part in decision-making," said Timmermans.

    EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom also took the floor to promise more openness on EU-US trade talks - with an EU public largely mistrustful of what the end deal will look like.

    "I realise there is a lot of interest and a lot of doubts and scepticism about this", she said, referring to fears about the lowering of EU environment and consumer standards to accommodate a deal.

    She said one way of tackling the "suspicion" is more transparency. She noted that the commission discussed giving all 751 members of parliament - rather than a select few, as is currently the case - access to documents concerning the agreement.

    They also discussed that draft texts from the agreement which are sent to member states should also be published to "demystify" the "concerns out there". The final decisions on both the lobbyist and trade negotiations transparency will be taken by commissioners next week.

    MEPs have already welcomed the trade deal move. German centre-right deputy Daniel Caspary said it was a "long overdue step", while Dutch liberal Marietje Schaake said it was "great to see" the transparency step.

    Meanwhile, Timmermans abandoned mooted plans to scrap a new law on the reduction of plastic bags in the EU. The move would have been a symbolic first step in the commission's stated aim of clamping down on unnecessary laws.

    The commission proposed the law limiting the use of thin plastic bags last year. But negotiations between member states and MEPs saw the law emerge with added reduction targets and a ban on certain bags marketed as biodegradable.

    Timmermans indicated that the commission would not block the passing of the law. But he also added - being the man in charge of cutting back EU legislation - that he is not sure it amounts to "better regulation".

    He concluded that if there are problems with implementing the bill "that is something the member states will have brought upon themselves".

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 19 November 2014

    (Source: EU Observer)

  • FOOD PRICES WILL RAISE UNDER CHINA TRADE DEAL

    Minister  of Agriculture BarnabyJoyce has conceded Australian food prices will rise as a result of the nation's freshly inked free trade agreement with China.

    Mr Joyce told Fairfax radio on Tuesday that the agreement would mean farmers would be able to demand higher prices for their produce, because they would have more potential buyers for their products.

    "Another market means competition, and competition means that you're going to get a better price. And we've got to do that – we've been asking the supermarkets for so long... well now they've got somewhere else to go," he said.

    But Mr Joyce said consumers would not notice much difference in food prices in stores, because only between 10 and 15 per cent of the retail price of food went to the farmer.
    Speaking to reporters in Canberra later on Tuesday, Mr Joyce sought to calm fears of food price inflation.

    "If the farmer is getting paid more at the farm gate, it is not actually going to make an awful lot of difference to what you pay at the supermarket because the vast majority of the return of agricultural produce is not actually earned by the farmer. It's earned by all the people post the farm gate," he said.

    "I am happy about the competition that will come into the marketplace, I am happy people will get a fairer price and I don't necessarily believe that that is going to bring about a form of food inflation because the vast majority of the return right now is not being made by the farmer, it is being made by the retailer and processor."

    The free trade agreement includes tariff cuts on Australian beef, sheep meat, dairy and wine exports to China.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    17 November 2014

    (Source: The Age)

  • THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE EU AND THE USA

    The International Trade and Investment Partnership (hereinafter “TTIP”) between the EU and the USA is at the center of the political debate of both the countries.As the negotiation going on, the content of the TTIP is widely discussed as the importance it plays for both the sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

    The two main topic of discussion are the impact on workers’ rights and the environmental standards provided in the agreement. Indeed, the TTIP is aiming to strengthen and foster the access to the US job market to the Europeans. However, some opponents especially from the left parties of the Member States claimed a lowering of the European labour standards and criticised the negotiations in that field.

    Another relevant topic is the maintenance of the environmental standards and the different point of view on the GM foods. So far, the EU ensured that the regulatory harmonisation will be taking place only if the frameworks are the same. As a consequence, the GM foods will be entering the European market only if each Member State authorises a change in that regard.

    The transparency in the negotiations has been ensured by periodical technical briefings given by the European Commission to the European Parliament and to the national governments.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Friday, 3rd November 2014

    (Source: Huffpost Politics UK)

  • EUROPEAN UNION AND PAKISTAN: THE EXTENSION OF THE GSP+ SYSTEM AND THE WAY OF FUNCTIONING

    The European Union granted Pakistan of GSP+ status at the beginning of the 2014.Indeed, the GSP+ system is a more favourable system than the Generalised Schem of Preferences, because it matches the cut in the reduced tariff with further additional tariff preferences.

    In particular, the preferences in the GSP+ are according to the participation of the developing countries in international conventions or agreement, usually fostering and enforcing the sustainable development and the good governance.

    However, due to the new system introduced, exporters are required to deal with new requirements and criteria of classification of the goods. In order to furnish a guide for the Pakistani entrepreneurs - also with regard to all the documents necessary for the administrative procedure of export.  

    The International Trade Centre released a report indicating the criteria of classification of the most relevant goods such as clothing, footwear, fruits and nuts, ethanol, and dairy. In particular, the report sets out health and sanitary requirements, technical standards, rules of origin, labelling, and licensing rules, in order to enable a more efficient exportation system and to render effective the GSP+ system applied to Pakistan.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 12 November 2014

    (Source: International Trade Centre)

  • THE IMPASSE OF WTO IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TFA

    The impasse in the negotiation for the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (hereinafter “FTA”) is now a serious reason of concern for the Director-General Roberto Azevedo’s.The WTO ‘s General Council meeting scheduled for the 10-11 December is going to be of crucial importance for the implementation of the FTA and all the remaining Doha issues.

    In particular, the conflict between the USA and India brought to a serious block, because New Delhi refused to go on with the implementation of the TFA due to the lack of progress in the field of another Bali core decision, concerning the development of a permanent solution to public food stockholding.

    The way this decision affects the global process of implementation of the core elements agreed in Bali is undeniable. Other members of the WTO started to explain their position in order to find out a solution to the impasse created which is even close to bring back the re-opening of the Bali package.

    If the actual situation does not permit a quick solution of the issue, a new scenario has been recently considered by some of the members of WTO: a plurilateral implementation of the FTA among those members willing to do it.

    However, first of all China and the EU are still tending to prefer a multilateral approach. Indeed, according to them is the only way to ensure a stronger and longer in time implementation of what agreed and in order to move further on the rest of the Doha Development Agenda.

    As a consequence, the next WTO’s General Council shall be of crucial importance in order to understand the further developments of the WTO itself.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 6 November 2014

    (Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development)

  • WHY PRIVATE EQUITY BOOSTS DEVELOPING ECONOMIES

    Some of the features of the private equity industry (hereinafter, “PE”) may produce the fostering of the sustainable development and constitute a good source of risk capital for SMEs in the developing countries.Indeed, in some cases the private equity industry can improve the environmental and social benefits and a financial return.

    The first feature favourable for developing economies is the long term vision of PE (usually around 5 year projects) in particular due to the stable environment for investments they are able to create. Moreover, usually PE team-boards are experienced and can create an additional value to the emerging company.

    Moreover, the PE is able to fill the gap for enterprisers who are too big to receive financial help from micro-enterprisers institutions and not big enough for bank finance. Last but not least, PE can be the right tool to introduce environmental, social and governance (ESG) management issues and remedies in the developing economies.

    In conclusion, the lack of financial resources in the private sector of developing countries can be solved by the vital and flexible financing model PE is able to provide. As a consequence, the bad reputation and the limits of this financial system as seen in the Western economy could be used as a development tool in emerging economies.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Friday, 12 November 2014

    (Source: The Broker)

  • THE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE EU AND THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY

    The last October 16, the European Union and the East African Community (hereinafter “EAC”) has agreed on the finale version of the Economic Partnership Agreement.The Agreement is the result of a ten-year work based on the promotion of the sustainable development and progressive integration between Europe and the African countries involved.

    The Agreement which will be hopefully signed within six months ensures to EAC duty-free-quota-free access for their products in the European Union. One of the counties that are expected to benefit the most is Kenya, which so far has been under the regime of the Generalised System of Preferences and, as a consequence, a system of tariffs on the exportations. The new Agreement shall improve the developing process this country currently experiences.

    During the negotiations, the different positions on the export taxation has been analysed under the different prospective: either as a tool for the industrial development or as a distortive element for the trade among countries.

    EU imports from EAC are mainly regarding tobacco, coffee, cut flower, tea, fish and vegetables products. On the other side, EAC are interested in importing machinery, mechanical appliances and other parts and equipment.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 20 October 2014

    (Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development)

  • THE EUROPEAN YEAR FOR DEVELOPMENT: GOALS AND PRIORITY OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

    The Committee for Development of the European Parliament (DEVE) has outlined the objectives and the purpose of creating a new European Framework for development in 2015.The need of a more structural and unified EU position on development is felt by all the parliamentary groups.

    In particular, the rapporteur on the EU development framework stressed the need of a stronger cohesion among the parties. The two main themes of the new framework shall be ending poverty and fighting the inequalities. Indeed, according to MEPs of the EPP group, the development goals should always develop alongside the dignity for all the human beings.

    The wide spread think of the DEVE is that Europe shall make his voice heard globally in a more stronger way in order to take part and paly a relevant role in this global discussion.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 12 November 2014

    (Source: The Parliament Magazine)

  • BERLIN CONFERENCE FOR YOUNG EUROPEAN: 25 YEARS AFTER THE WALL FALL.

    One young European born in 1989 for each member state in order to commemorate and discuss the past and the future of the European Union.On 2nd November, the representation of the European Parliament and of the European Commission in Berlin invited 28 young Europeans in order to discuss the main current issues in the European Union.

    The conference has been organised in occasion of the 25-years memorial from the fall of the wall which has been dividing the east Germany from the west Germany from 1961 till 1989.

    The member state representatives had the occasion to share ideas and different visions in particular in the field of the participative democracy and democratic values, equality and social justice, migration & asylum, EU’s neighbourhood, energy & climate, jobs & education and the freedom of movement and EU in the Digital Age.

    These young European citizens are calling for a more democratic and sustainable Europe, less concentrated on national interests and more open to the new challenges which the global economic and social approach presents.

    In particular, with respect to the energy and climate issues, the participants asked for a Europe free from fossil fuels, based on the share of renewable energy in an efficient and safe way. With regard to the European economic model, they call for Europe acting for a more sustainable development, a well-developed budgetary cooperation and checks, and a sense of responsibility for future generations.

    The messages collected are part of the Berlin Manifesto 2014, which will be addressed to the European Institutions on the official meeting in Berlin.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 7 November 2014

    (Source: Europaische Bewegung Deutschland)

  • THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UN CLIMATE TALKS IN LIMA

    The UN has climate talks every year and has done for the best part of two decades, and likely the big action will happen in Paris but before you have to look to Lima.

    1. It is one step in an on-going process.

    This year you have already seen a ‘bonus extra’ UN climate summit inNew York in September, bringing together world leaders and engaging business and civil society too. There was also the US/China deal, the Green Climate Fund pledges, a steady, year-long stream of IPCC reports and a rapidly growing divestment movement.

    A key step on the way to Paris comes in March, with the pledging of what are known as the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, where countries outline the steps they propose to take to reduce emissions. It’s hoped that Lima will help clarify this process.

    2. Action on climate change has a lot more political space.

    The UN climate summit, in New York, was so important. To build that momentum and get that political will early on, also referring to the recent US/China deal and slew of pledges to the Green Climate Fund.

    The main reason of the failure in Copenhagen was the relationship between the US and China. There were suspicions about the relationship between emissions reductions and primacy in the global economy. Now, that is changed: with the New Climate Economy report, climate change action is aligned with economic growth and it is not seen as a significant cost.

    3. We’re still not nearly ambitious enough.

    As Tom Mitchell notes of the Green Climate Fund, the 9.3 billion dollars currently pledged falls well short of the G77 target of $15 billion; similarly, Jo Haigh is cautious: “When the US and China came out with that statement, we all thought that was a good thing, even if it’s not good enough, it’s definitely a move in the right direction.”

    Perhaps a trick is to look beyond Paris: the key period is between 2015 and 2020, and then through to 2025.

    Overall, however, Mitchell is pessimistic that we will be able to keep within the limit of two degrees global warming which many seem to work to even if it’s an appropriate target.

     

    The gLAWcal team

    EPSEI project

    Monday, 1 December 2014

    (Source: Road to Paris)

     

  • IPO AND EPO FURTHER COOPERATE ON PATENT

    The European Patent Office (EPO) and the Intellectual Property Office of India (IPO India) have agreed to renew their co-operation on patents in an effort to support innovation in both regions.

    The EPO and the Government of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral co-operation establishing a framework for structured work relations between the EPO and the Intellectual Property Office of India for at least four years. The aim is to support the development of the patent system in terms of service delivery and efficiency. Furthermore, the EPO and the Indian IPO also signed the first biennial work plan under the MoU.

    Through this agreement Europe and India are reinforcing their efforts to create new opportunities for innovating businesses that will be able to benefit from improved conditions for the protection of intellectual property in India. This will encourage European businesses to take their inventions to the Indian market, whereas higher quality patents are making it easier for Indian inventors to access the European market. Moreover, the agreement also aims to stimulate the promotion of economic development and the transfer of technology between both regions.

    The EPO has also concluded a co-operation agreement with the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry to promote the European patent system in India and to support technology transfer between Europe and India. The co-operation programme is being implemented through the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) which provides a platform for Indo-European co-operation on clean energy technologies and advises European enterprises on IPR issues in India through its IPR Help Desk.

    The EPO also signed a work plan with the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DEITY) of the Government of India, thereby establishing a platform for co-operation in the field of ICT related patent matters between Europe and India.

     

    The gLAWcal team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 17 November 2014

    (Source: Asia IP Law)

  • THE CHINA-AUSTRALIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

    On the 17th November 2014, Australia and China signed a Declaration of Intent to enter the ChAFTA, marking the conclusion of negotiations on a landmark bilateral trade agreement. The announcement of the ChAFTA has been warmly received both in China and Australia.

    Entry into the ChAFTA is expected to further strengthen Australia's trade position in East Asia, following the conclusion earlier this year of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (the JAEPA) and the Korea-Australia free trade Agreement (the KAFTA).

    DFATreports that the ChAFTA will substantially increase the FIRB approval threshold for private entities investing in non-sensitive sectors. Under the ChAFTA, the FIRB approval threshold for investments by these investors will be increased to A$1.078 billion. Similar to its approach under the JAEPA and the KAFTA, China expects that Australia will reserve its right under the ChAFTA to impose lower limits for investments in agricultural land and agribusiness in line with the Australian Government's stated intention to introduce those limits generally.

    The proposed changes will not apply to investments by Chinese SOEs, who will remain subject to FIRB approval regardless of the value of their investment. These are investments where the interest acquired equals 10 per cent or more, or less than 10 per cent if it provides potential influence or control. Between 2007 and 2013, Chinese SOE investors accounted for 89 per cent of the total value of Chinese outbound direct investment in Australia.

    For this reason, it remains to be seen whether the increased thresholds will result in any material benefit for the largest class of Chinese investors in Australia. Moreover, like the KAFTA (and in contrast to the JAEPA), the ChAFTA contains an Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism, pursuant to which obligations within the Investment Chapter can be enforced directly by investors from the two countries.

    It is yet to see confirmation of whether the ChAFTA will include a “Most-Favoured Nation” clause enabling China to receive the benefit of any market access arrangements granted by Australia pursuant to free trade agreements with other nations.

    Australia has also agreed to create new avenues for Chinese companies to engage Chinese nationals in aspects of their Australian operations, as part of a mutual agreement to allow for greater workforce mobility.

    Specifically, it is reported that Australia will grant certain categories of Chinese citizens with rights to enter and work in Australia for a limited time period, including:

    ·         intra-corporate transferees, independent executives and contractual service suppliers, for up to four years and

    ·         business visitorsfor up to 90 days (or six months in the case of service providers).

    According to DFAT guidance, major concessions have been agreed in the agriculture, food and beverages sectors with the removal of all import tariffs on Australian dairy, meat, wine, seafood and horticultural products. Australia has also agreed that all remaining tariffs on agricultural and processed foods imported from China will be eliminated.

    Under the ChAFTA, China will remove all tariffs currently applicable to a wide range of Australian energy and resources products, manufactured goods and pharmaceuticals.

    The deal is also expected to improve market access for Australia's pharmaceuticals and manufacturing sectors. Tariffs will also be removed on products within the automotive, steel, aluminium and plastics sectors, which are currently subject to a 5 per cent tariff.

    China's concessions in the services sector are reported to be significant and represent China's 'best ever' services commitments in a free trade agreement. They include: financial services, telecommunications, and technical services.

    The ChAFTA is also reported to improve market access for Australian tourism and hospitality businesses. Finally, additional opportunities will also be provided for Australian service providers in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

     

    The gLAWcal team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 21 November 2014

    (Source: Allens)

  • CHINA CO-ORDINATES PLANNING RULES TO PREVENT WASTEFUL GROWTH

    In a fresh attempt to improve policy co-ordination, four government bodies are testing a new combined planning regime in 28 locations. They straddle China’s developed east as well as its less developed western regions.

    The trials will see multiple plans combined within clearly-defined urban areas, in order to eliminate incompatibilities between individual plans. The new system aims to tackle a deep-seated problem of poor co-ordination and wasteful growth.

    Included in the new mechanism are the National Reform and Development Commission’s plans for economic and social development, the Ministry of Land Resources’ planning for land use, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development’s urban-rural plans, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s planning for protection of the environment.

    If combined planning can be well implemented, it could prevent problems such as unfettered expansion in the west of China, and the changes are essential for environmental reasons.

    Currently, China's eastern coastal provinces have already seen a period of over-expansion and now need to plan for optimization, whereas western China remains less developed and suffers from weak management. Therefore, currently for the east of China this merging of plans is a response to its own needs, while the west of China is a passive recipient.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Thursday, 27 November 2014

    (Source: China Dialogue)

  • CHINA CAN HAVE ECONOMIC GROWTH, CLEAN AIR AND LOWER EMISSIONS

    The Chinese economy would benefit from a faster switch to renewable energy and a reduction in carbon emissions.

    A study launched in Beijing by the The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, says a low-carbon development path is now “unavoidable for China”. The good policy design could limit the cost of peaking carbon emissions by 2030 to less than 1% of GDP. If the associated benefits of cleaner air and better health are taken into account, moreover, even that cost could largely be cancelled out.

    The report assessed that if China maintains 7% growth but allocates 1% of GDP to spending on energy-saving and developing new energy technology, it will be much easier to improve China’s environment than under the low-growth scenario.

    The findings also have implications for China's air quality. In fact if energy-saving and emissions-reduction efforts continue unchanged, almost half of Chinese cities may still be afflicted by poor air quality in 2030. The report calculates that, if energy-saving and emissions-reduction measures are accelerated, China’s carbon emissions from energy would peak around 2030 and start to fall soon after, while 2030 carbon intensity would be 58% lower than in 2010. Add in strict rules on cleaning up air pollution at the point of release and structural reforms and by 2030 all Chinese major cities could enjoy air up to quality standards.

    The current investment-driven model of economic growth is unsustainable; while the economic drag of resource constraints is already becoming apparent. If China cannot mitigate that through new technology and efficiency gains, it may fall into the middle-income trap of low-speed growth.

    Following the joint China-US Statement on Climate Change, the report recommends imposing initial emission caps only on energy-hungry sectors with surplus capacity, and in the economically developed east of the country.

    First, coal consumption should be brought under control, and new and renewable energy sources will become the economic growth points of the future. 

    Finally, the fossil fuel price reforms should be implemented alongside controls on greenhouse-gas emissions and total energy consumption. These reforms would account for the external environmental costs of fossil fuels and gradually create the market environment for development of clean and renewable energy sources. A competitive market would encourage companies to invest in low-carbon technology and stimulate innovation and development in the low-carbon technology sector.

     

    The gLAWcal team

    EPSEI project

    Monday, 24 November 2014

    (Source: China Dialogue)

  • NSA CHIEF WARNS CHINESE CYBER-ATTACKS COULD SHUT U.S. INFRASTRUCTURE

    China and probably one or two other countries have the ability to shut down computer systems of U.S. power utilities, aviation networks and financial companies.

    The digital attackers have been able to penetrate such systems and perform reconnaissance missions to determine how the networks are put together, and the access can be used by nation-states, groups or individuals to take down that capability.

    China was one of the countries with that capability, but there were others, too.

    Privacy advocates will probably now have to start over to pass a law to reform U.S. surveillance rules. In fact, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and telephone companies would rather wait and see what might be included in any new law, before taking any decision at regards.

     

    The gLAWcal team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 20 November 2014

    (Source: Reuters)

  • LOS ANGELES MAYOR PRESSES CHINA TO ALLOW MORE HOLLYWOOD FILMS

    A flurry of private Chinese investment into Hollywood should prompt Beijing to loosen its restrictions on U.S. film imports.

    Hollywood producers, eager to build ties to the world's second-largest film market, have embraced an influx of Chinese capital in recent years, leading to a series of high-profile partnerships. Chinese authorities have gradually raised the annual quota of foreign films to 34 but state censors still keep a firm grip over what may be shown.

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is leading a two-week trade mission across three Asian countries, raised the issue of foreign film quotas, during a meeting with Chinese vice minister of foreign affairs Zhang Yesui in Beijing.

    Former Warner Bros film chief Jeff Robinov announced the creation of a new studio reportedly with $200 million backing from Fosun International, one of China's largest private conglomerates. Moreover, the state-affiliated Shanghai Media Group pledged to invest $1 billion alongside veteran producer Robert Simonds on films, while Wanda Dalian acquired the AMC Entertainment Holdings cinema chain in 2012 as its first move into Hollywood.

    Although such joint partnerships may help studios get around foreign quotas, they are coming at a time when China's ruling Communist Party has tightened control over the media. Chinese regulators pulled four U.S. television series from online streaming sites, while President Xi Jinping has urged the country's artistic elite to promote socialist values, eschew "the stink of money" and become a cultural influence on the world stage.

    The mayor, who has met his counterparts in the southern Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, welcomed Chinese investment and tourism, particularly following a revision in the U.S.-China visa treaty that now allows Chinese citizens unlimited visits over a 10-year period.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 21 November 2014

    (Source: Reuters)

  • CHINA PATENT WEEK SERVES INNOVATION DEVELOPMENT

    On November 17, the 8th China Patent Week with the theme of meeting the demands of company and serving innovation is held across the nation.

    This year's Patent Week is aimed to demonstrate the achievements that IP administrative nationwide made in IP creation, utilization, protection and management. It is also aimed to serve companies' innovation work and create a sound innovative environment by focusing on promotion plan of patent strategy, the implementation of IP standard and improving IP capability of small and medium companies.

    The 8th China Patent Week will focus on the following four special events.

    The first one is to promote enterprises to enhance IPR management capacity, and it will promote the connection between consulting services and the enterprises, increase the intellectual property management personnel training, and the implementation of relative national standards.

    The second is to help the enterprises to create competitive advantage of intellectual property rights.

    The third is to strengthen the utilization of intellectual property rights.

    Finally, the fourth is to strengthen IP special services for of small and micro enterprises. The event will make full use of all types of IP public service platform to increase innovation counselling, management consulting, investment and financing, personnel training, technological innovation and other services, and to guide IP services agencies’ fully participation in the improvement on IP services of small and medium enterprises.

     

    The gLAWcal team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 20 November 2014

    (Source: Intellectual Property Protection in China)

  • WEAK SMARTPHONE DEMAND HURTS LENOVO

    Slowing smartphone demand in China is weighing on Lenovo Group Ltd. sales as the company sprints to catch up with Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. in the handset segment. Lenovo reported third-quarter revenue growth that fell below market expectations, sending down its share prices and clouding expectations for the future profitability of the world's largest personal computer maker. Global revenue was up 7.2 percent to $10.5 billion, the smallest increase in at least six quarters.

    Quarterly setbacks did not hurt Lenovo. Chairman and Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing's attempt to build the mobile device segment into a new cash cow to replace the PC business, which provided a decade of profits.

    Lenovo hopes that Motorola Mobility will help it unlock developed markets in Western Europe and North America. The company said last month that it completed a $2.91 billion buyout of Motorola Mobility from Google Inc. According to research firm IDC, the acquisition helped Lenovo to become the world's third-largest smartphone vendor with an 8.7 percent market share, after Apple and South Korea's Samsung.

    The rise of Xiaomi Corp, other China-based smartphone producers, is also an issue for Lenovo. Xiaomi, based in Beijing, may hold an initial public offering as soon as next year. Industry insiders speculate Xiaomi's valuation could be as high as $50 billion.

    Lenovo must continuously roll out products that appeal strongly to Chinese buyers in function and price to maintain its market share in the country. China, which can accommodate both high- and low-end products, will remain the top smartphone market for global handset makers for a long time.

    Data from Canalys show the Chinese mainland accounted for more than one-third of the total smartphone shipments in the third quarter, with the US far behind at 13 percent. India, the third-largest market, took 6 percent of global smartphone shipments.

    The global market is the next challenge for Chinese producers to conquer.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 14 November 2014

    (Source: Intellectual Property Protection in China)

  • FUKUSHIMA: $17BN TO CLEAN-UP IN NEXT 40 YEARS

    The water problem is so severe that the nuclear energy plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), and its myriad partner firms have enlisted almost all of their 6,000 workers in the 2-trillion yen mission to bring it under control, almost four years after a deadly tsunami sparked a triple meltdown at the plant.

    But Fukushima Daiichi’s manager, Akira Ono, said he believed workers had turned a corner in the long road towards decommissioning. "It’s possible to say that we can now start to look forward,” he added.

    Each day about 400 tonnes of groundwater streams from hills behind the plant and into the basements of three stricken reactors, where it mixes with coolant water being used to prevent melted fuel from overheating and triggering another major accident. Most of the contaminated water is pumped out and stored in tanks, but large quantities find their way to other parts of the site, including maintenance trenches connected to the sea.

    The contaminated water is the most pressing issue. Unfortunately, previous versions of Tepco’s Alps (advanced liquid processing system) water treatment unit were plagued by technical hitches.

    In addition, tanks used to store the contaminated water were poorly assembled and suffered serious leaks, while plans to freeze water that has gathered in a trench near the damaged reactors are eight months behind schedule.

    Despite doubts about its effectiveness, Tepco officials say the wall should be finished by next March, and completely frozen by May. Along with the underground “ice wall”, the utility is pinning its hopes on a new version of its Alps water treatment system that can remove more than 60 radioactive elements.

    Recent “hot testing” of the apparatus has been successful, because this is a high-performance system; it uses only filters and absorbents to remove the contaminants. 

    As Japan moves closer to a return to nuclear power after the local authorities on the south western island of Kyushu this month gave their approval for reactor restarts, Tepco can claim a significant victory in its efforts to improve safety at Fukushima Daiichi.

    Tepco has yet to begin removing melted fuel from reactors 1, 2 and 3, where radiation levels are too high for humans to enter. Tepco engineers admit they do not know exactly where the damaged fuel is located. Robots have been used to inspect debris inside reactor buildings, but none have been able to get anywhere near the melted fuel. The dangers posed by this unprecedented operation recently forced Tepco and the government to delay the planned start of fuel removal from reactor No 1 by five years, to 2025.

    Decommissioning the entire plant is expected to take at least 40 years. The operation, including compensation for tens of thousands of people forced to evacuate their homes, will cost around 10 trillion yen (US$85 billion). 

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 19 November 2014

    (Source: China Dialogue)

  • ALIBABA'S MA: FINANCIAL SERVICES IPO 'DEFINITE', EYES CHINA MAINLAND LISTING

    Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's finance services arm will definitely go public, eyeing a mainland China listing for the e-commerce company's crown jewel.

    Alibaba was unable to list shares on China's mainland as part of its record-breaking $25 billion initial public offering, and Executive Chairman Jack Ma hopes that Alipay will take also this opportunity.

    Ma, speaking on the company's annual Singles' Day shopping festival, did not give a timeline for when the unit might list.

    Alipay is the lifeblood of Alibaba's e-commerce network and China's dominant online payment processor. Set up a decade ago, the service pioneered online payments in China and settled 4.825 trillion yuan in transactions in the year ended June 30, 2014.

    Foreign access to mainland stock markets remains curtailed and subject to quotas, but there are now a series of trial program in place that if expanded could allow significant foreign exposure to firms listed on mainland exchanges.

    As part of an agreement between Alibaba and Ant Financial, Alibaba shares 37.5 percent of the unit's profit or can in the future take a direct stake in it. The IPO must value Ant Financial at a minimum of $25 billion, according to the agreement, which is detailed in Alibaba's IPO prospectus.

    Alibaba has been aggressively offering new financial services around Alipay, including a money market fund for consumers, a mobile payment app anD a new private bank that was approved by the Chinese government, but Alipay remains according to some analysts as one of the most valuable assets in the Alibaba universe due to its unique position in Chinese commerce.

     

    The gLawcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 11 November 2014

    (Source: Reuters)

  • ALIBABA REPORTS RECORD $9 BILLION SINGLES' DAY SALES

    E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd reported more than $9 billion in sales on China's Singles’ Day, illustrating the buying power of the Chinese consumer and the importance of the event in the retail calendar.

    The shopping day, similar to Cyber Monday and Black Friday in the United States, comes less than eight weeks after Alibaba's record $25 billion public share listing in New York.

    Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma said that Alibaba's financial services arm, Alipay, also will definitely go public, probably in China, but he felt a bit nervous due to the higher pressures and expectations now that Alibaba is a listed company.

    Alibaba turned Singles' Day, a November 11 Chinese response to Valentine's Day, into an online shopping festival in 2009.

    Alibaba had sales of 35 billion yuan during last year's festival.

    The numbers this year were boosted by a pre-sales initiative under which merchants advertised prices early, taking deposits for the items but only processing full payments and shipping the goods on Singles' Day itself.

    The “11.11 Shopping Festival” began with just 27 merchants in 2009. This year's festival is global, reaching shoppers in more than 200 countries.

     

    The gLawcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 11 November 2014

    (Source: Reuters)

  • CHINA OFFERS ASEAN FRIENDSHIP, LOANS AS SOUTH CHINA SEA TENSION BUBBLES

    China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang proposed a friendship treaty with Southeast Asian countries and offered $20 billion in loans but held firm on the line that Beijing will only settle South China Sea disputes directly with other claimants.

    China, Taiwan and four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have competing claims in the sea where concern is growing of an escalation in disputes. China is ready to become the first dialogue partner to sign with ASEAN a treaty of friendship and cooperation. The treaty is seen as a threat.

    Li also offered ASEAN countries $20 billion in preferential and special loans to develop infrastructure, but he reiterated China's resolve to safeguard its sovereignty and its position that maritime disputes should be settled bilaterally rather than collectively or through arbitration.

    ASEAN leaders hoped to persuade their giant neighbour to take a less bellicose approach to the overlapping claims when they met Li, and ASEAN as a group has been reluctant to antagonize China.

    The Philippines and Vietnam have sought closer U.S. ties to counter what they see as China's aggression. In May, China sent an oil drilling rig to waters claimed by Vietnam, sparking deadly anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursady, 13 November 2014

    (Source: Reuters)

  • THE WORLD HEADING TOWARDS A 'WEAK AND IRRELEVANT' DEAL ON CLIMATE CHANGE

    The former director of the Tyndall Centre, the UK's leading academic climate change research organisation, talks about climate politics and his hopes for a global deal on reducing emissions by the end of 2015.

    The EU has not developed internal policies that are in any way consistent with its repeated and expressed goals of avoiding the 2C characterisation of dangerous climate change. The EU is now aiming for what it says is an ambitious target of a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030. Regions like the US, EU and Australia would need to reduce their emissions at a much faster rate than even the EU is considering.

    The UK has been seen as a leader on climate change since the passing of the Climate Change Act in 2008. But is it now in danger of failing to meet its commitments. To its credit the UK does have carbon budgets, but, unlike the 80% target for 2050 outlined in the Climate Change Act, they are not enshrined in law.

    The long-term, 2050 targets are irrelevant and worse still misleading in relation to climate change. The only thing that matters is the build-up of greenhouse  gases, particularly CO2, in the atmosphere, in other words carbon budgets. The problem with the UK’s 2050 80% target is that it allows us to think that we can do things tomorrow that we failed to do today.

    If no agreement is reached in Paris next year, there may be increasing pressure on the government to repeal the Act itself. And even if the Act remains, I think the influence of the Committee on Climate Change may be reduced, and there is a risk that it could be abolished.

    Another issue is how China faces to the problem. A big point for China is the issue of infrastructure development. When China constructs airports, ports, roads or buildings it is currently locking in very high energy-use and hence carbon futures, as even China will not be able to transition to low-carbon energy sources at sufficient rate.

    There is still faith in the UN process; especially there is the intention to continue with the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and related processes. But there are other things; the UK’s Climate Change Act was a separate process, outside of the UNFCCC, as were the EU negotiations. It’s a mistake to think that these can’t be designed to complement the UN negotiations. Ultimately however, if you are serious about climate change as a global problem then a global framework is necessary to understand the collective implications of everyone’s efforts.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Monday, 10 November 2014

    (Source: China Dialogue)

  • CHINA: SEVEN YEARS OF THE FIRST ENVIRONMENTAL COURT

    On the 20th of November 2007, both the Guiyang Intermediate People’s Court and the Qingzhen People’s Court formed environmental protection tribunals.At that time Guiyang’s sources of drinking water were suffering from pollution, and the municipal Party committee proposed using a combination of administrative, economic and judicial methods to protect the city’s drinking water.

    The head of the environmental court in Qingzhen, Luo Guangqian, explains his point of view concerning the court.

    This year, they have had more than 50 so far. Those cases are: criminal, mostly to do with protection of resources (illegal logging, land use and mining); civil cases when citizens bringing cases against polluting companies; and cases brought in the public interest; administrative review cases, when a company appeals against a fine imposed by the government.

    The Court has composed by five judges, including a presiding judge and deputy.  They organized training session; last time there were 80 judges and prosecutors from around the country. These sessions usually take the form of talks by guest lecturers (including an Italian professor talking about his research in the European Union and how judges overseas make environmental decisions).

    Some environmental courts suffer from a lack of cases, but it happens if courts only accept local cases. In this case, the jurisdiction covers quite a wide area, and they hear all the environmental protection cases for Guiyang’s 10 districts. And since April this year, they have more cases because the Guizhou court has also been designated as the court for cases arising in two other administrative areas. If it only accepts cases of infringement of rights and damages due to pollution, it won’t have so many. Furthermore, after a case of pollution there is a real need for prompt information, so they work with government bodies and the public, and this is also an important source of cases.

    The role of the Supreme Court’s new tribunal will mainly provide summarisation, research and guidance, strengthening the rule of law, and actual cases will still be handled by the local courts. For all these reasons, there’s a need for the judiciary to get involved in this work.

     

    The gLawcal Team

    EPSEI project

    (Source: China Dialogue)

  • IS CHINA READY TO SIGN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENT?

    China is part of "intensive" talks on a global trade pact regarding information technology products, but it is unclear if a deal will be made at a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders.

    The United States and other countries have been hoping that China would sign on to the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which requires signatories to eliminate duties on some IT products. Washington has blamed China, the world's biggest exporter of IT products, for derailing talks on an update to the 16 year old WTO pact on technology trade by asking for too many exemptions. Washington has warned that China must move ahead with the ITA or risk upsetting other trade talks.

    China has argued that a reduction in tariffs on some products would be unfair and that the agreement should take into account countries' different stages of development.

    Talks on the ITA during APEC come amid broader controversy over the future of regional free trade frameworks.

    China is pushing the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), but some see the proposal as a way to divert attention from the more comprehensive U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) plan being negotiated by 12 countries, not including China.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Saturday, 8 November 2014

    (Source: Reuters)

  • CREDIBILITY OF US-CHINA CLIMATE COOPERATION HIT BY MID-TERM ELECTIONS

    The US administration sees climate change at the top of its bilateral agenda with China. The expectation is that President Barack Obama will use his upcoming meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the APEC summit in Beijing to create momentum for the UN climate talks in Lima in December, and ultimately the international climate conference in Paris next year.

    Climate change cooperation was a bright spot in US-China relations in an otherwise dark year, dominated by territorial disputes in the South China Sea, cyber spying and democracy protests in Hong Kong. Today, the US and China are in a much better positions to come to an agreement: both sides have taken steps to counter climate change domestically.

    China is under pressure to react to almost apocalyptic levels of air pollution and its leadership is debating a cap on carbon emissions for its next five-year development plan. In the US, Obama has worked around a reluctant Congress by using the Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to cut emissions.

    Both sides have built mutual trust through numerous bilateral initiatives; the Climate Change Working Group is developing projects that range from reducing vehicle emissions to developing smart-grid technologies and enhancing energy efficiency in buildings.

    Actually, the Copenhagen accord, often described as a failure for its lack of enforceability, has set the groundwork for a more ambitious follow-up in Paris. Unlike the 1997 Kyoto Agreement, the contract was not binding under international law. But while the biggest emitters, the US and China, stayed outside of Kyoto Agreement, they entered the global climate regime in Copenhagen. Furthermore, there is another important body: the Climate Fund, into which rich countries can pledge money to help poorer countries to adapt to climate change.

    But even though the domestic developments on both sides have been encouraging, doubts remain as to whether they can be translated into a successful global agreement. China shows no sign of backing off from its position, and the challenge for the US side will be to persuade others that further emission cuts will be possible in the face of political resistance to climate change action at home.

    Obama has taken administrative action through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by setting fuel-efficiency standards for cars and limits for coal-plant emissions, and it is certain that Obama will go into the next climate talks with little political backing. While the US is on the way to reach its target of meeting emissions by 17% below 2005 levels in 2020, there will be doubts as to how much more ambitious it can get without national legislative action on issues such as cap and trade.

    The next months will show how far the mutual trust built up since Copenhagen can carry the US and China on the road to Paris.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Thursadya, 6 November 2014

    (Source: China Dialogue)

  • CHINA-BASED COMPANIES TURN BLIND EYE TO WATER RISKS

    Companies operating in China reported a wide range of negative impacts on their businesses due to water (property damage, brand damage and higher operating costs).

    However none of the companies have evaluated how water issue will affect operations; nor they report any water related targets or goals or state whether they are exposed to supply chain risk or not. These results are starting in a country struggling with dwindling water supplies and where 70% of fresh water resources are polluted to some degree.

    Recent scandals have besmirched the reputation of big business. Top clothing brands like Armani, Calvin Klein, Marks and Spencer and Zara have been linked to devastating water pollution in the Chinese textile industry. On a global level, water risks to business are growing, but the willingness of businesses to provide information about these risks has actually fallen.

    A growing number of companies reported impacts from droughts, pollution and other water related problems, but almost half the companies approached failed to disclose transparent water risk assessments to investors.

    More companies worldwide are also requiring their suppliers to disclose information about how they are managing water risks. It is striking companies in the energy sector remain the least transparent according to the report, given the widely accepted connections between water and energy.

    In China, lack of water has forced the closure of coal-fired power stations in arid regions of the country and will constrain growth of alternative energy sources in the future, with effects down supply chains.

    The few companies in China that did disclose information to CDP did so on the behest of their purchases and their buyers. This shows that in China it is the consumers driving change, rather than investors.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Thursday, 6 November 2014

    (Source: China Dialogue)

  • CHINA REFORMS NATIONAL PARKS TO IMPROVE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

    China’s central government is planning to create a unified national parks management system seek to halt environmental damage within national parks.The new, unified system will cut across the local and departmental interests of existing operators so parks can be run to benefit the public.

    The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)has already identified seven of China’s most famous tourist spots to test the new system (the Great Wall area, the mountain lakes of Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan, and the rock formations at Zhangjiajie in Hunan province). In the current fragmented system, local governments did not actually have the right to declare a park national.

    Actually, as a result of many reforms, China has many so-called national parks, all managed by different institutions. To solve the problem, the establishment of a national parks system was proposed in the November 2013 “Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Comprehensively Deepening Reforms”.

    It proposes that the State Council creates a body for overall management of national parks and reserves, doing away with the existing regional and departmental divisions and creating a comprehensive and unified management system. The new system should stand above departmental interests in order to improve environmental protection.

    The draft said national parks are part of China’s national image; are natural heritage not private assets; and must protect large-scale ecosystems, allowing for research, education and tourism: they should not be run for company profits, or as drivers of development for local government, and this is essential for funding and management to come directly from central government.

    The lack of a unified system has stored up huge problems. Although China’s nature reserves cover 20% of its land, the environment is still worsening. Zhu Chun of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said a national management body would provide a rare chance to improve the protection of nature and promote environmentalism.

    Finally, the importance of public participation in environmental protection is fundamental because national parks can provide ordinary people with a window onto conservation and make ideal venues for environmental education.

     

    The gLawcal Team

    POREEN project

    Friday, 7 November 2014

    (Source: China Dialogue)

  • GM FOOD IN CHINA: PARANOIA OR TRUTH?

    Making sure people have enough food is a political priority in most countries, but it is hard to overstate its importance in China, with one-fifth of the world’s population and only 8% of its arable land, and where famine, scarcity and rationing are all-too-recent memories for the leadership.

    In 2014, for the 11th year in a row, China’s first central policy document of the year concerned rural development. For many years, agricultural biotechnology has been a significant government priority.

    Furthermore, China has in recent decades seen a massive increase in the production, sale and consumption of meat; phytase maize, in particular, represents an innovation geared towards increasing the efficiency and reducing the environmental costs of this expansion.

    So, why were the certificates allowed to lapse before the crops could be commercialised? No clear answer has emerged, but we suggest four possible explanations.

    First, in the case of Bt rice, China has nearly reached self-sufficiency in producing rice with conventional varieties, suggesting the ministry decided there was little need to commercialise GM rice in the near future. Second, has played an important role the “public concern around safety issues”.

    The third explanation regards the problems with regulation, underlay the decision. Finally, the fourth explanation: delusions of an ultranationalist variety. GM food is a “devious plot to annihilate the Chinese”, disseminated by an “anti-GM movement whose power and influence are more than matched by its fervour and sheer, undiluted paranoia.”

    Of course, a fuller explanation might incorporate all four elements and others. It’s an open question, how effective the technology had really proven to be. In China today, scientific and environmental decision-making is fragmented and far less technocratic than is often assumed, and public and elite anxiety does seem to run high when it comes to genetic modification. China’s anti-GM movement reflects the emergence of a larger public debate than in previous eras on many sides of this controversy. Scientists have also made impassioned public and private appeals to government. Recently, pro-transgenics advocates staged GM rice-tasting events in 22 Chinese cities.

    For many observers in China, the avoidance of food scarcity is a remarkable, but the dominant agricultural development paradigm has come at a cost. It has not only had implications for food safety, but other effects too, such as the widespread overuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, soil erosion, the fragmentation of rural communities and rising social inequality.

    Rather than ignoring or misunderstanding the challenge of producing safe food, citizens are establishing new networks, like Beijing Farmers Market, which connect farmers to consumers and benefit local producers while increasing trust and knowledge about sustainable agricultural practices.

    Certainly, some of the discourse around GM in China is paranoid and misguided, and much like its championing of clean energy, Chinese government support for innovation could perhaps be game changing for agricultural biotechnology. But focusing exclusively on one vision of high-tech innovation could not only obscure avenues for engagement on scientific and environmental decision-making, but also overlook other, emergent innovations addressing China’s agricultural, food and environmental challenges.

    It’s pertinent instead to ask how more open approaches to scientific governance could transform a debate, which has surely only just begun.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 14 October 2014

    (Source: China Dialogue)

  • CITIZENS’ PARTICIPATION SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED IN CHINA’S 13TH FIVE-YEAR PLAN

    In the nation’s 13th Five-Year Plan, China should establish the principle that protection of the public’s health and the nation’s water, air and other natural resources has the same importance as economic prosperity.

    In addition to the Environment Law, there are more environmental measures that the 13th Five-Year Plan might include: a national coal cap, maximum daily pollution restrictions and strict limits on small particulate matter (PM 2.5) for all Chinese cities. Ultimately, citizen collaboration is the point to solve the nation’s water and air-pollution problems.

    Citizen engagement takes two forms: implementation and enforcement. To ensure implementation, the 13th Five-Year Plan should direct regional and local governments to maximise public participation in determining the best local anti-pollution measures to meet strict national standards.

    To ensure enforcement, the public is authorised to help the government identify violators in the community and help craft solutions to remedy violations.

    Moreover, the 13th Five-Year Plan should require that all polluting companies install real time pollution monitoring equipment and release monitoring data in a manner that’s easily accessible to the public.

    Regional and local governments are currently working on new clean air plans and they will be experimental attempts to identify how to clean up local air-pollution problems.

    Citizens' participation from the beginning would help ensure that the new plans and new policies include measures to ensure that they will actually be strongly enforced, and the public would be a critical ally to local government officials charged with redressing excessive pollution.

    The 13th Five-Year Plan should mandate an environmental protection system that ensures that local governments collaborate fully with the public they serve. 

     

    The gLawcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 30 0ctober 2014

    (Source: China Dialogue)

  • CHINA IS ENCOURAGING SMART CITY DEVELOPMENT

    Chinese government is investing in a smart city development plan that will create huge opportunities for local high-tech enterprises. International Data Group estimates that, over the next 10 years, China will spend 2 trillion yuan ($326.7 billion) in this project that will initially affect around 300 cities.

    Du Ping, chief executive and president of the State Information Center has emphasized the project doesn’t exclusively involve government authorities and that an efficient urban management necessarily requires IT companies to play their part.

    Among the companies that have decided to benefit from this opportunity there is Chinese tech giant Lenovo Group, whose vice-president, Tong Fuyao, recently declared the Group is already working to offer smart solutions and services especially based on big data analysis.

    This drive towards smart city development has been warmly embraced by stakeholders, as proven by the success of China High-Tech Fair, held in in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

    The event has set up a dedicated pavilion and it has seen an overall participation of more than 100 government and business delegations and about 3,000 exhibitors from 50 countries and regions.

    Lenovo Group took part at the Fair displaying its answers to smart cities needs involving: healthcare, education, finance, public transportation and telecommunication.

    Focussed on related-sectors it’s also ZTE Corp, a Chinese telecom and network provider, which is collaborating with local governments in the creation of smart city facilities to tackle popular problems such as air pollution and traffic jams.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 28 November 2014

    (Source: ECNS.cn)

  • THE WORLD INTERNET CONFERENCE URGES FOR INTERNET REGULATION

    According to several experts participating at the World Internet Conference, internet regulation should be implemented to have a force of law; only in this way it will be possible to preserve netizens privacy, to improve network development and shrink cyber-attacks.

    Zhou Hanhua, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, urges the legislative to a prompt adoption of a privacy law in order to stem hackers’ intrusion and invite lawmakers to involve internet users asking for their opinion. In line with this assertion, the Swiss cyber-security expert Hans-Rudolf Thomann has highlighted how legal means are not enough and it would be better proceed with a combined action involving technological means such as security standards to solve this problem.

    In the opinion of Alamusi, deputy director of the Committee on Political and Legal Affairs at the China Electronic Commerce Association, internet regulation will also ensure ecommerce industry rapid development, and he informed that Chinese government is working on its first electronic commerce law that should be delivered in about three years from now.

    Another panel dealt the hot topic of limiting sensitive content online. Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Communication University of China, proposes to adopt a model where internet companies have to obtain a license in order to legitimately operate distribution of content.

    Finally, James Andrew Lewis, senior director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, pointed out that each nation should promulgate domestic laws to fight cyber-threats as well as comply with international conventions.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 27 November 2014

    (Source: ECNS.cn)

  • AFRICA’S DIGITAL ECONOMY TO LEARN FROM INTERNET GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT

    If African nations want to become significant powers in the emerging global digital economy, they have to take the cue from other regulators and governments. Alex Salter, CEO of SamKnows, is recently supporting this argument to illustrate various aspects that are influencing African digital market development.

    Deloitte reports that 160 million people living below the poverty line could see their status changed by simply providing them with internet access. Online connection would allow people to benefit from a great variety of resources from education to healthcare and business-related support which, if executed properly, would automatically result into a social boost.

    Several companies have stepped up launching supporting campaigns and in a recent article, Forbes legitimately questions if these initiatives are purely noble or internet companies have just found a new channel to promote their business. Whatever the answer, it is important to bind these large corporations to social responsibilities while pushing governments and internet providers to develop policies and services able to grant affordable internet access.

    An emblematic case showing these dynamics is the successful Facebook’s Internet.org, rapidly expanding in more and more countries. Taking Kenya as an example, investments in ICT sector have allow national GDP to increase at an impressive rate, reaching 63% of broadband penetration that goes up to 76% if we include mobile connection.

    Africa will enormously benefit from connecting its people. Beyond encouraging entrepreneurship and education, internet could help Africa’s sustainable development conveying the values of democracy, transparency, political accountability and minorities’ protection.

    If during their path African nations are able to monitor and learn from foreign telecom regulators and governments, they will surely play a fundamental role in driving global digital economy.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 26 November 2014

    (Source: HumanIPO)

  • LIBERIA’S SCHOOLS GO DIGITAL TO AVOID EBOLA

    Ebola-related risks forced Liberia to close its schools, but digital technologies haven’t prevented children to keep on learning. Traditional classroom education has been compelled to stop to limit disease-spreading, but for 1.2 million of Liberian children lessons continue at home broadcasted by radio and available by mobile phones.

    This incredible achievement is possible especially thanks to the noble action of Cellcom and Worldreader. The first one is a Liberian well-established wireless carrier that is providing families with free access to certain educational content; while Worldreader is a US-based NGO that has developed a mobile app allowing students to download course readings free of charge.

    The non-profit has been founded with the purpose of promoting literacy in poor countries; it currently operates in 39 countries and special focus has been given to Kenya and Ghana.

    When Ebola started spreading in Liberia, Worldreader’s creator David Risher began collaborating with the government and other businessmen in order to integrate national education system with its tools.

    Risher and his team also contacted various London-based school publishers asking for partnership; though there is no agreement yet, Worldreader spokesman declared conversations have been promising.

    What makes Liberia’s case different from other countries where the NGO has taken action is that it hasn’t been possible to provide students with book readers and related training on how to use them. Thus, the only way to solve this problem so far it has been relying on the estimated 50% of Liberians who have internet access.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 25 November 2014

    (Source: Forbes)

  • CHINA’S VISION OF A CONTROLLED INTERNET

    China’s hosted its first World Internet Conference to join the conversation on global internet governance. Representatives from nearly 100 countries and regions included popular CEOs such as Jack Ma (Alibaba), Masayoshi Son (SoftBank), Pony Ma (Tencent), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn) and Paul Jacobs (Qualcomm).

    The slogan of the conference - “An Interconnected World Shared and Governed by All” - let out the intentions of the Middle Kingdom aren’t limited anymore to see foreign companies comply with its domestic laws; China wants to have its say and aims at having the international community buy into its idea on how internet should be regulated in order to better protect its national security and sovereignty.

    This purpose was emphasized by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his welcoming message, where he invited other countries to pursue common governance and face these new challenges by recognizing the right to monitor and restrict citizens’ internet use.

    The same vision was supported in another occasion by Lu Wei, Chairman of State Internet Information Office, who highlighted that this scenario doesn’t differ from the fact that foreign companies willing to operate in the country have to comply with Chinese laws as well as Chinese companies observe domestic laws of the country they decided to establish in.

    By supporting this point, Chinese government is obviously winking at its censorship practices that have recently acquired a new codename: “Positive energy”. Ren Xianlang, deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, has indeed started using this term to define what should be the main goal of internet companies if they want to operate a proper website management and supervision: spreading positive energy to fight negativity in and towards China.

    An enormous gap between West and East emerges from this approach to internet governance and China knows it will be hard to win international consensus, especially from countries advocating freedom of speech. Evidence of China’s awareness is the fact that during the World Internet Conference a special Wi-Fi connection was set up to grant access to a Great Firewall Free internet.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 24 November 2014

    (Source: The Diplomat)

  • SKRILL WILL BRING AFRICA’S ECONOMIES ONLINE

    A memorable partnership between mobile payment systems, network operators and merchants will drive economic outburst in Africa. The European online payments and digital wallet provider Skrill has joined forces with Microsoft and local mobile network operators in order to start an ecommerce portal and shift Africa’s emerging economies online.

    The region’s double digit growth and the extremely youthful populations with their natural talent for new technologies constitute the perfect conditions to invest in digital payment systems and ecommerce.

    Through this portal, customers will be able to operate online transactions keeping their personal financial data safe. Furthermore they will enjoy free access to educational content and Microsoft software, as well as global internet brands shopping.

    Skrill guarantees instant, cost-effective and secure payments via mobile wallets and promotes business digitization through its extensive global network of merchants. The company is aware of bank services penetration low rate and that these markets are marked by intensely perceived fraud risks but it’s positive in serving one of the fastest growing regions in the world.

    Microsoft will take part in the joint venture by providing Africa with the means to realise a digital revolution which will bring innovation, inclusion, trade and skills.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 21 November 2014

    (Source: All Africa)

     

  • DIGITAL ACTIVISM TO PROMOTE TAIWAN’S GOVERNMENT ENHANCEMENT

    Online community g0v pushes Taiwanese government to fully embrace transparency and accessibility. Last March, during the protests against a trade deal with China - dubbed the Sunflower Movement - g0v community helped organising demonstrations, bringing food to the occupiers, serving tea to police officers and keeping the public up to date.

    g0v’s communityaims at inspiring a real social change by bridging the existing gap between offline and online activism; one of the core principles is to make government mechanisms more understandable to ordinary people and thus invite citizens to participate in its improvement.

    A collaborative ethos pervades the whole organisation which proves its belief by using open source platforms in order to promote stakeholders engagement. g0v’s commitments have been demonstrated in various occasions, one of the most impressive is undoubtedly the 24-hour digitization of political donation records: public access to campaign donation documents was exclusively permitted for the paper version, in-person and at a government office; this action allowed to implement Taiwan’s Campaign Donation Act of 2004 and to amend transparency laws.

    The movement doesn’t limit its actions to single episodes; it regularly hosts hackathons to physically gather supporters so to focus on current problems and brainstorm solutions. In addition to this, it has recently launched its first international conference to promote discussion on hot topics such as open data, civic technologies and participatory government.

    The uniqueness of g0v’s community lies in its bottom-up and horizontal structure that allows making citizens’ voice heard, and emphasizes the importance of each contributor. By using real-time collaborative platforms such as Hackpad, GitHub, Google Drive, and EtherCalc, as well as relying on the valuable help of the Sunlight Foundation, Microsoft Azure, and other academic, private, and public sponsors, g0v keeps on evolving fast and growing both locally and internationally to pursue its honourable objectives.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 20 November 2014

    (Source: Tech President)

  • SAP LAUNCHES $500M STRATEGY FOR TRAINING AND INNOVATION IN AFRICA

    Software giant SAP has launched a 7-year plan to accelerate innovation and growth in Africa. In Africa, the German company counts more than 1,300 customers and manages operations in almost all the African nations.

    Robert Enslin, SAP spokesman and member of the executive board, has declared the company aims at unravelling the enormous potential of the whole continent. For this reason, most of the investment will be focussed on countries with recent astonishing performances such as Nigeria, Kenya, Angola and Morocco. The plan consists in supporting training initiatives to help young talents in the development of IT and business skills as well as assisting customers and partners in the creation of new employment opportunities.

    SAP Africa CEO Pfungwa Serima echoed this vision and added that the company successfully operates in the area for over 20 years so it will use its experience and knowledge of the territory to achieve this ambitious plan and make the best use of its USD 500 million investment.

    The main sectors where SAP will drive change and make an impact will be: energy, natural resources, utilities, public sector, financial services and telecommunications; it will also promote small and medium enterprises enhancement and launch the so called Skills for Africa Scholarship Programme to realise an open business ecosystem able to train the executives of tomorrow.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 19 November 2014

    (Source: Humanipo)

  • CHINA INTERNET CENSORSHIP CONTROLS VPN CONNECTIONS

    Speculators assert Chinese government is monitoring traffic through VPN connections.

    Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are a technology used by an increasing number of Chinese mainland people on a daily basis.

    Being an efficient tool to circumvent censorship, the government has done all it could to turn VPNs into a useless technology. According to Lokman Tsui - ex Googler at the Asia Pacific branch and Free Expression advocate - the Middle Kingdom has used software, hardware, laws and policies up to market incentives to practically cut VPNs traffic and, initially, this approach resulted in an effective crackdown. Nonetheless, few years later, developers managed to achieve the realisation of VPN technologies that censors’ system is not able to recognise as such.

    Andrew Staples of GoldenFrog, a VPNs service provider, stated that the Great Firewall of China has not given up in its quest of identifying VPNs protocols and it has put in place deep inspections of Internet traffic. Despite the constant technology improvements set up by both parties, rumours of Chinese government predominance are intensifying.

    Of course it’s just speculation, but in the opinion of And Tsui, professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the real strategy behind Chinese government approach doesn’t consist in achieving a perfect censorship, but it rather involves increasing the cost of bypassing the block in terms of technical efforts and money so to restrain infringers to a small number.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 18 November 2014

    (Source: The Diplomat)

  • APEC PAVES THE WAY FOR GREATER REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY

    During the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, members of the forum outlined the strategy to realise regional connectivity by 2025. At a press conference Chinese President Xi Jinping asserted there was unanimity in investing at full scale to enhance physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity.

    Particular focus will initially be given to raise more funds to build a reliable infrastructure in all his aspects including: energy, transportation, logistic and access to ICT. In addition to this there is the idea to cure the financial bottleneck by encouraging partnerships between public and private sector.

    To strengthen cooperation, the community will launch new initiatives so to foster cross-border business travels, tourism and educational exchanges.

    Countries’ economies in this area will benefit of an APEC Multi-Year Project with the purpose of doing business in a cheaper, faster and easier way.

    The implementation of the blueprint will be actively monitored by APEC economies’ ministers and officials that have scheduled yearly and mid-term reviews.

    APEC meeting was also the occasion for President Xi Jinping to publicly announce 40 billion US dollars contribution to set up a Silk Road Fund and kick off financial assistance to China’s neighbours countries.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 17 November 2014

    (Source: Global Times)

  • KOREA’S PLAN TO ACHIEVE AN IP-BASED ECONOMY

    Korean corporate and government leaders are more and more recognising the importance of IP monetisation and management in order to improve business and economic performance and even national security. These topics, along with others, have been the core of the 2nd Annual Korea IP Conference, event chosen by the government to present its 5-year plan to achieve an IP-based economy.

    The three pillars on which the government will build its action comprise: reductions in the duration of processes such as examination, patent trial and appeal pendency; anti-counterfeiting enforcement; and patent law implementation. The executive basic plan includes comparative analyses of national policies, improving IP quality, litigation, financing and enhancing IP mortgaging in order to lay the foundations for a solid and efficient private market-base technology valuation system.

    The conference obviously also addressed the complex issues arisen from finding a balance between IPRs and competition law compliance. The Korean Fair Trade Commission has undertaken to draft guidelines on the management of Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) to cure the lack of international standards and it’s expected to summon relevant government and private sector representatives so to lead a productive multi-stakeholder approach.

    Other sessions of the Conference involved problems related to counterfeiting, piracy and brand protection. The European Chamber of Commerce in Korea held a panel illustrating the alarming comparative data on the impact of worldwide counterfeiting. This phenomenon violently hits major brands and it also has tremendous repercussions on consumers, local entrepreneurs and governments. Criminal organisations take advantage of counterfeit goods market, exploiting it as an easy way to do business, perfectly knowing that governments have other priorities to face.

    During the anti-piracy session, Kwee Tiang Ang of IFPI Asia highlighted the drastic drop of music industry revenues mostly due to online piracy. The most envisaged solution appears to be web-blocking measures; with the technical help of Internet Service Providers, it would be possible to rapidly bottleneck illegal downloading. Furthermore, Kwee Tiang Ang illustrated the positive results of backing up legal action against infringers with administrative measures, such as the so-called 3-strikes graduated response system, the Korean version of France’s Hadopi law: inviting users to stop infringing activities encourage them to switch towards legal platforms.

    Further enforcement actions have been claimed to fight cybersquatting and protect trademarks and brand protection by enhancing domain name dispute resolution mechanisms.

    As the ICANN UDRP doesn’t apply to country code domains, Korea Internet Security Agency established a national resolution policy to deal with “.kr” domains and designated the Internet Address Dispute Resolution Committee (IDRC) as the sole Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider.

    At the conclusion of the Conference, a final panel was held to discuss IP management challenges that in-house counsels have to confront with on a day-to-day basis.

    The participants were unanimous in affirming the strategic role that these experts will play in the fight against IPRs violation, especially in educating staff at all levels and departments to pursue a synergic action. Nonetheless, the increasing requirement of IP knowledge, the vastness of the subject and the complexity of the matters shouldn’t lead in-house teams to be reluctant in asking support from external counsels.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 14 November 2014

    (Source: Asian Legal Business)

  • INTERNET FREEDOMS THREATENED BY THE RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN

    Activists fear the EU ruling on the Right to be Forgotten could have negative consequences especially in the Arabic region, where repressive regimes could use it as a pretext to expand censorship measures. Despite the EU court specified the Right to be Forgotten can find application only through a case-by-case assessment, the quantity of removal requests approved by Google - de facto resulting in blocking legitimate journalistic works - is so high and impactful that it is reasonable to believe this ruling could expand its consequences beyond European borders.

    Google’s CEO Larry Page himself has warned of the dangerous doors that this ruling could open to certain foreign governments more keen on strengtheninginternet filtering practices; and his words have already been echoed by Arabic advocates, such as Dhouha Ben Youssef, who remarks how investigative journalism, emerging in this area, will potentially come to a halt.

    The UAE already passed a federal decree in 2012 that officially aim at fighting cybercrimes, but, on the other hand, it allows a pervasive control and suppression of authentic online content allegedly violating privacy rights.

    According to Arabic government officials their laws and practices are as democratic as those of Europe, this is why western democratic regulators should be very cautious when they legislate: they have to be aware they are not only impacting their citizens’ future, but they are also inspiring foreign countries. An example of this phenomenon is the establishment of the Tunisian Technical Telecommunication Agency; Former Tunisian ICTs minister Mongi Marzouk has openly commented that the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime was what stimulated his executive to do “better” in restraining internet freedoms.

     

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 12 November 2014

    (Source: Global Voices)

  • CUSTOMER SAFETY PUT AT RISK BY IP INFRINGEMENTS

    Nowadays international counterfeiting is a plague that affects global markets causing remarkable, sometimes unbearable, costs and losses to companies worldwide.

    In the past the most hit country was USA; along with globalization, more and more countries, especially the poorest ones, are discovering the importance of Intellectual Property Rights protection (IPRs).

    Developing nations are understanding that through a proper IPRs enforcement they can effectively safeguard their indigenous knowledge, spurring innovation and seize new economic opportunities.

    It would be a mistake to think that this issue exclusively concerns economic growth, it also includes serious dangers for public safety and health. The pharmaceutical sector, for instance, has repeatedly reported the alarming revenues of illegal markets and the fundamental necessity to build fair markets conditions in order to safeguard patients’ access to medications.

    More and more efforts to fight international counterfeiting now come from China.

    Its market players - especially in the internet sector like Alibaba - are indeed reaching the maturity to understand how crucial is to intervene for IP protection; but there are also institutional initiatives and policy drafting taking place. Back in 2004 the “No fake pledge” initiative has been launched by the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department in partnership with the Guangdong Intellectual Property Office: retailers agreed on displaying “No fakes” stickers on their windows to show tourists and consumers their trustworthiness.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 13 November 2014

    (Source: Alexandria Times)

  • DIGITAL ACTIVISM TO REVITALIZE INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES IN MEXICO

    A workshop in Oaxaca allowed digital activists to join forces in the preservation of Mexican linguistic diversity. Indeed, it has been estimated to 68 the number of indigenous languages coexisting in Mexico, and this astonishing number is even higher if we consider variants and dialects spoken across the country. In order not to lose this important intangible cultural heritage threaten by Spanish dominant speakers, a group of activists found in internet their safe harbour. Advocates of this cause are encouraging native speakers to create original content online and together with more traditional means - such as academic research, documentation and language courses - they aim at revitalizing indigenous languages.

    During the workshop participants had the occasion to networking, share their knowledge and plan strategies to promote sensitisation on the issue. The gathering featured sessions providing different perspectives on various challenges: linguistic as well as technical, social, cultural and organizational. Besides discussion panels these young volunteers organized active how-to sessions to develop practical skills such as creating audio podcasts, subtitle videos, blogs, translate Wikipedia and engage with free software localization projects.

    The success of the initiative led this new network towards more ambitious goals; soon they will replicate workshop activities at local-level events and they will constantly report their experience online so to inspire other supporters and communities alike.

     

     gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 11 November 2014

    (Source: Global Voices)

  • CHINA EFFORTS TO PROTECT ITS ICH

    China is investing in Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) protection to exploit its commercial potential. The ancient city of Beijing features 800 years of history and, besides its majestic architecture, the Chinese capital offers various experiences to plunge into its cultural richness.

    When in 2006 the government established the national ICH Day, several cities, Beijing included, launched surveys to inventory their treasures. The Northern Capital lists more than 12.000 items that show its energetic roots and colourful people’s lifestyles. Exhibition collects folk dances, traditional music and craftsmanship and secures them for future generations thanks to a 20-volume book, as well as digital equipment such as systematic audio and video recording.

    In 2011, Chinese government passed the bill on national ICH safeguarding; so far it has recognized 108 national peculiarities, 43 more items recognition are pending, while other 235 receive city-level protection. An interesting point to make is that these lists also include people as ICH inheritors: traditional knowledge keepers.

    Beijing Municipal government has adopted a multidisciplinary approach to address ICH protection, involving 14 different departments and establishing a Protection Center for the heritage that has been reproduced at lower-levels in Beijing’s districts and counties.

    The whole country is working hard to effectively preserve its cultural heritage and maintain a sustainable development. As far as the capital is concerned, the local government has planned training programme enhancements, public funds, higher visibility to the issue and it counts on promoting tourism-related initiatives to exploit the commercial potential of ICH and encourage companies to get more involved.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 10 November 2014

    (Source: China Daily)

  • TANZANIA NEW SECURITY MEASURES TO FIGHT CYBERCRIME

    Tanzania government is setting up various measures to beef up internet security and effectively fight cyber-crimes which, according to a recent Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) report, is costing to the country circa 6 million USD.

    Modern technologies have allowed countries worldwide to build networks that rapidly convey and exchange information and help boosting their businesses. Unfortunately, parallel to their economic development, also the rate and impact of cyber-crimes grow.

    Tanzania is one of the leading countries on mobile phone money transfer, the number of mobile phone users reaches 27 million, and the major challenges that the nation has to face are related to online piracy, card skimming and ATM thefts.

    Starting from the fact that these criminals are technology-savvy, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Pereira Silima has recently declared that the government is trying to realize security measures that could place it miles ahead in technology advancement to effectively fight against cyber-criminals.

    These topics have been the main focus of the 4th COMSATSISESCO-INIT Workshop on “Internet Security: Enhancing Information Exchange Safeguards” held in Dar es Salaam, that saw the participation of different countries representatives from Africa and the Middle-East.

    During the inauguration ceremony, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology Prof Patrick Makungu has confirmed Mr Pereira Silima statement and has declared that to successfully address these issues the government is using a multilateral approach: from developing cyber laws to the establishment of a Cyber-crime Unit in the Police force and of a computer emergency response team (CERT).

    Other fundamental measures on which the Tanzanian executive is relying are the launching of Internet security programmes. Training ICT experts from diverse business fields will help them to develop up to date skills and thus reduce threats and their impact.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 7 November 2014

    (Source: All Africa)

  • IP AUSTRALIA TOOLKIT TO GUARD TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE

    Australian government IP department has developed a toolkit named Nanga Mai Arung (translated into “Dream Shield”) that gathers case-study materials to guide Indigenous people towards efficient IP management. Traditional knowledge can indeed be a rich source of inspiration for businesses, which often don’t properly realize the broader legal and cultural picture surrounding their creations.

    Dream Shield initiative started in 2009 with IP Australia establishing an Indigenous Expert Panel to analyse the way Indigenous business owners perceive Australian IP system.

    The outcomes led IP Australia to focus its efforts on adapting IP-related communication to specifically target and engage Indigenous business community.

    By learning how IP system works, Indigenous business can take informed decisions, be prepared in case of infringement and they can actually gain commercial advantages by being more appealing to potential investor’s eyes.

    To better broadcast the relevance of IP protection to indigenous community in today’s business, IP Australia has entered different partnerships: It worked together with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), a local association that has implemented its workshop for aspiring businessmen with Dream Shield contents; and it joined its forces with the Australian Attorney General’s Department to develop copyright-related materials and improve aspects initially not covered in the toolkit.

    Since Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are under-represented, IP Australia has recently published a new case-study concerning the Warlukurlangu artists from Yuendumu, an isolated town in the Northern Territory. The story of these Aboriginal artists shows how a strategic IP management can incentivize new form of business and generate enough income to make a living in remote communities.

    Thanks to the help of the local Art Centre manager, Warlukurlangu artists are wisely and efficiently using their IPRs to enter into license agreements and authorize the reproduction of their artwork on several goods, from textiles up to iPhone covers that report credit on the labels to the author.

    In conclusion, Dream Shield and all the initiatives that are deriving from it are allowing to demonstrate effectively the high value of IP also as a way to promote traditional knowledge and sustainable development.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 6 November 2014

    (Source: WIPO magazine)

  • SINGAPORE AND CHINA TO STRENGTHEN IP COOPERATION

    On the occasion of the 11th Singapore-China Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting,

    A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of China and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) to reinforce their efforts to guard intellectual property (IP).

    The agreement promotes collaboration by fostering the exchange of ideas and experiences, especially related to IP law and policy implementation, financial IP products development and IP valuation and appraisal.

    The two countries have also launched a 5-years pilot programme to raise awareness on IP usage and related issues whose origins are to be found in the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreement, a previous Sino-Singapore partnership directed to illustrate cost-effective ways to businessmen and innovators in order to protect their works in both countries.

    The objective of this bilateral cooperation also cover the ambitious project of transforming Guangzhou in an IP modern hub; a model zone for IP cooperation, officially called the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, that will involve the establishment of an advisory panel, activities addressed to companies to help them in their IP commercialisation and development, as well as study visit and other exchanges to build cutting-edge skills.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 3 November 2014

    (Source: The Business Times)

  • A (GREEN) CHRISTMAS CAROL: ECO-FRIENDLY TIPS

    A useful guide on reducing the polluting impact of our Christmas’ habits, without having to renounce to the joy and warmth of the holidays.

    Enjoying Christmas without endangering our planet is possible and this guide will lead you through three main topics, starting with the final result of the endless shopping sprees: the gifts and decorations. Every item we buy has a carbon footprint, which we should try to keep as low as possible. For example, a real Christmas tree has a much lower environmental impact than a plastic one, which should be reused for at least ten years, in order for it to be eco-friendly. When choosing entertaining gifts, such as toys, we should prefer non-electrical ones, since they obviously consume much less; in any case, electrical ones should be chosen carefully, opting for gifts that can be used by more than one person at a time (gaming consoles) or with an higher durability, even if they cost a little more up front. One final tip: buying your gifts online will reduce time, stress and the emissions from travel.

    No Christmas would be worthy of its name without one huge feast, but there are interesting tips to consider that could greatly reduce the general carbon and waste consumption. First of all, a careful plan on the required amount of food will avoid any unnecessary waste and will reduce the preparations’ time. Moreover, when choosing the main course, keep in mind that turkey has a much lower carbon footprint than beef and it goes without saying that vegetarian choices are the best, from this point of view. Finally, letting the guests serve themselves from the serving dish is preferable, since it allow an easier collection of leftovers, which should be consumed in the following meals, rather than be thrown away.

    When having lots of guests at home for Christmas, gas and electricity bills might rise drastically, due to all the lightning and heating. Choosing warm and comfortable clothes and drawing the curtains when the dusk approaches is a smart way to reduce the heating’s consumption, without feeling cold or chilly. At night, is highly suggested to turn off every light (connecting many devices with a multiple plug will make it easier) and is generally a great idea to choose LED light bulbs, which consume less and have a higher durability.

    In conclusion, these small actions will help our environment and could have a positive impact on our guests, making them consider the environmental impact that each of us has on the planet.

     

    The gLAWcal Team
    December 2013
    (Source: Carbon Trust)

  • GLOBAL WARMING FOR DUMMIES: THE SIMPLER, THE BETTER

    Using a 72-second video, psychologist Michael Ranney greatly improved the common knowledge of such an important issue.
    In 2011, a research conducted in San Diego showed that the average citizen, while well aware of the relevance that global warming has in modern life and its correlation with human activity, had no idea of how it actually “works” and could not explain the crucial enigma: why human-produced greenhouse gases could block heat coming from the Earth (thus increasing global temperature) but not prevent the heat from coming to Earth in the first place.

    Two years later, a group of psychologists led by Dr. Michael Ranney launched a website (http://www.howglobalwarmingworks.org/) designed to host short video campaigns (lasting from 1 to 4 minutes) which focus on giving a quick, simple and effective answer to the problem exposed above: the Earth transforms visible light coming from the Sun into infrared light, which is blocked by greenhouse gases. The more gases in the atmosphere (due to human activity), the slower this light will leave the planet, increasing its temperature in the meantime.

    When asked about the unexpected success of his experiment, Ranney explained that the topic of global warming has been occupying a growing place in the “everyday concern’s ladder” and that the reason why the average citizen is typically ignorant of its mechanisms is that he is overwhelmed by scientific explanations which are presented with complex data and elaborate jargon, making the comprehension of their messages a daunting, if not impossible task.

    Through his work, Dr. Ranney showed how even simple words, when presented in an effective way, can improve our understanding of serious phenomena and our way of coping with them.

    The gLAWcal Team
    December 2013
    (Source: NPR, Cosmos and Culture)